Useful education links for 29th March-4th April

These are the education stories we found interesting between 29th-4th March 2013.

Fingerprinting private school gets the thumbs down. (The Times)

Parents at an independent school in Hertfordshire have protested after fingerprints were taken from pupils without their consent. Pupils from Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ preparatory school in Elstree were taken out of class to have their fingerprints taken for a new in-house catering system.

Teachers’ leaders call for resignation of Michael Gove (The Telegraph)

Union leaders at the annual National Union of Teachers conference in Liverpool have demanded that the Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove, resigns. On Tuesday they passed a no confidence motion in the education secretary calling for his resignation. This follows more than a week of talks where teachers have evaluated the government’s plans for pay, pensions, the National Curriculum and exams.

Limit teaching to four hours a day, says union (The Guardian)

Members of the National Union Of Teachers have called for a new working week including reducing the time they spend teaching in the classroom. They passed a motion on Tuesday demanding a new working week which includes 20 hours’ teaching time, 10 hours of lesson planning and 5 hours of other duties. Richard Rose, a teacher from Cambridgeshire, told the conference there was “no time to eat, think or go to the toilet” during a working day.

There is currently no fixed limit on the number of hours teachers work per week. However, the conference heard that most primary school teachers work more than 50 hours per week and secondary school teachers work for about 49 hours.

New further education tsar will have power to close failing colleges (The Telegraph)

Underperforming Further Education (FE) colleges in England will soon face a tougher regime as part of the government’s new plans to reform post-16 education. Skills Minister Matthew Hancock said that a new “FE Commissioner” would be established and the new watchdog would be given the powers to take over colleges and even close down the worst-performing institutions. He said that 1.5m pupils are currently stuck in colleges where standards were no better than satisfactory.

Four held as university protesters are evicted (The Guardian)

Four students were arrested this week as police evicted protesters who had occupied a building at Sussex University. The top floor of a university building had been occupied by students since February following a 10 month campaign against the outsourcing of the institutions catering facilities.

The secret to exam success: Puppy love (The Telegraph)

Undergraduate students at a Scottish University will soon be able to avoid the pressures of university in a new special “puppy room”. Following a successful trial last month, the initiative will be brought in during exam period next month to help students from the University of Aberdeen take their mind off work worries. Studies have found that interaction with animals can reduce levels of the hormone cortisol which is associated with stress.

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