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Education secretary plans to 'wipe out' illiteracy

A baby sounding out words whilst following text on page with her finger. Credit: Press Association Images

Education Secretary Michael Gove is to set out plans that he hopes will end illiteracy within a generation.

Mr Gove will put forward a framework to "save lives which are currently wasted" by a lack of basic skills, The Times said.

His pledge will reportedly be put forward for inclusion in the next Conservative manifesto and is likely to be included in a first draft of ideas that will be submitted to David Cameron by Jo Johnson, the chairman of the Prime Minister's policy board.

The commitment would see plans to ensure that all children leave school with strong reading and maths skills.


Non-Grammar school pupils in 'lower ability peer group'

Children who do not get into a grammar school will find themselves in "lower ability peer groups", which, in turn, "affects their chances of succeeding at school".

Professor Simon Burgess from the University of Bristol, who led the research, also said the inequality could be explained by the calibre of teaching in both types of schools.

Selective schooling systems sort pupils based on their ability and schools with high ability pupils are more likely to attract and retain high quality teaching staff.

This puts pupils who miss out on a grammar school place at an immediate disadvantage.

In addition they will be part of lower ability peer groups, which also affects their chances of succeeding at school.

– Professor Simon Burgess

Grammar schools 'widen inequality'

Grammar schools widen the gap between the richest and poorest in British society, according to a joint study from three universities.

The earnings gap between richest and poorest was lower in areas without a grammar school system. Credit: PA

Pupils who fail to get into a grammar school are put at an "immediate disadvantage", research from the University of Bristol, the University of Bath and the Institute of Education, University of London found.

Researchers from the universities studied the pay of more than 2,500 people born between 1961 and 1983.

The average hourly wage gap between the top 10% and bottom 10% of earners was £16.41 in areas with a grammar school system in place.

But in similar areas that had gone comprehensive, the equivalent earnings gap was £12.33.

Teachers could be set for fresh round of strikes

Teachers are preparing for a fresh round of strikes at the end of June in a long and bitter row with the Government over pay, pensions and conditions.

The fresh round of strikes could hit schools in England and Wales in the summer term. Credit: Barry Batchelor/PA Wire

Members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) could walkout this summer if the dispute is not resolved.

The union will debate whether to stage fresh walkouts at their annual conference, being held in Brighton, which seeks co-ordinated national strikes in the week beginning Monday June 23 if "significant progress" is not made in ongoing talks with the Government.

The move comes just weeks after the NUT staged a national walkout and offers the prospect of widespread disruption to schools in England and Wales in the summer term.


Drug education 'should be pushed for' at Primary school

Drugs education for children as young as 10 should be broadened, one of the Government's chief drug advisers has said.

Professor Simon Gibbons, a member of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), told a public hearing that more needs to be done on drugs education in primary and middle schools.

(File photo) Syringes on the floor of an abandoned building. Credit: REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

The subject of drugs does not form part of the National Curriculum at primary level, although it is at a school's discretion to include it within the teaching of personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education.

Mr Gibbons, a professor of medicinal phytochemistry at University College London (UCL), said:

"I would certainly like to see more done on the education done in primary settings.

"I have two young daughters who are eight and 10 and the elder one is certainly at that age when she is starting to be aware of some of these materials.

"At the primary and middle school phase there's not enough information on drug education for 10, 11, 12-year-olds - that's something we should be pushing for."

Gove: Shakespeare 'a grammar schoolboy made good'

Education Secretary Michael Gove has praised the work of playwright William Shakespeare and claims he was "another grammar schoolboy made good".

Michael Gove claims the number of Old Etonian's is "ridiculous". Credit: oe Giddens/PA Archive

The Tory Cabinet member's comments come days after he criticised the "ridiculous" numbers of Old Etonians in Prime Minister David Cameron's inner circle.

Mr Gove told the Commons pupils could be put off an author for life if they were poorly taught.

MPs heard there is evidence that awful teaching of the works of Shakespeare could deter youngsters from English literature for a long time.

Gove: UK state education is no longer 'bog standard'

Education Secretary Michael Gove has said state education in the UK was "bog standard" for decades, but a "relentess" focus on teacher quality has improved schools.

Education Secretary Michael Gove Credit: PA/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Gove, who has made no secret of his desire to see state schools run more like independents, said

"tectonic plates" have started to shift in this "historic period in state education" as the schools have improved more last year than at any time in Ofsted's history.

"We need to thank the nations teachers. We have the best generation of English teachers ever working in English classrooms," he said.

Gove's speech comes amid a public row with Labour and Lib Dem MPs following the decision to replace the chair of Ofsted, Labour's Baroness Sally Morgan

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