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Gove distances self from spat over 'narcissist' minister

The Education Secretary Michael Gove has denied any knowledge of who in his department described an outgoing minister as a"lazy, incompetent narcissist obsessed only with self-promotion".

Former children's minister Tim Loughton was described as "lazy" and "incompetent" by an anonymous source Credit: Katie Collins/PA

Tim Loughton, who was sacked as children's minister in the last reshuffle, was denounced in a briefing to the Spectator magazine by an anonymous source in Department for Education.

Mr Gove insisted he did not know who made the briefing and said Mr Loughton "far from being incompetent ... was a talented and effective minister who made a difference".


DfE: Teachers' pay to be linked to performance

Under the current system, teachers progress through pay grades automatically Credit: David Davies/PA Wire

Under changes unveiled by the Department for Education today, schools will be given more freedom to pay teachers according to their performance from September.

Under the current system, teachers automatically progress through pay grades depending on their length of service. But the School Teachers' Review Body (STRB), which is tasked with making recommendations to the Government, has called for pay to be more closely related to performance.

STRB chair Dame Patricia Hodgson said the reforms would "help schools to recruit, retain and reward the best teachers".

'Gentle military-style approach' for troubled pupils

Mike Hamilton, Commando Joes' founder, delivering a fitness session at a school in Manchester. Credit: PA

Commando Joes’, which will receive around £600,000 from the £1.9 million initiative, said that it combined teamwork and fitness "with a gentle military-style approach".

However, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), told The Independent that self-discipline and teamwork were objectives “that schools instil in pupils day in day out, the majority having never been anywhere near the military”.


Ex-soldiers 'are role models for kids'

The Government funding has probably fast-tracked us by about five or 10 years. The instructors are all ex-military personnel - they are role models and kids look up to and aspire to be like them. When we go to a school playground children hang on every word.

In some of the deprived areas we work in, young people have not got grassy areas or anywhere to go. When they come to our sessions they get a chance to socialise in a different way, to be part of a team.

Our motto is No Child Left Behind - we will work with every child and young person to help them feel motivated to learn and be part of their school and community again.

– Mike Hamilton, director of Commando Joes'

Former bomb disposal expert set up charity

Former bomb disposal expert Mike Hamilton, 32, who served in the Royal Engineers for eight years - including two tours of Iraq and one of Afghanistan - formed Commando Joes' after leaving the army.

As well as a personal trainer, he was a member of a bomb disposal squad - on one occasion helping clear a whole minefield in an Iraqi village so children could play safely.

He went on to work as part of a recruitment team in the UK and during visits to schools noticed a need to help disillusioned pupils.

Starting Commando Joes as an after-school activity at schools in Manchester in 2009, he has slowly expanded, recruiting extra instructors to teach military-style fitness and one-to-one mentoring, as well as tailor-made team-building exercises and activities.

Charities to pair ex-military staff with disadvantaged pupils

  • All four use activities including one-to-one mentoring, military-style obstacle courses and team-building exercises.
  • They also help re-integrate pupils and prepare them for post-16 courses or jobs, as well as helping primary school children in their move to secondary school.
  • Headteachers working with all four projects to benefit from the funding have already reported an improvement in "difficult to reach pupils", making them less likely to be excluded.
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