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Sector news, 9 - 13 April

National Union of Teachers leader attacks free school 'vanity projects'   The Guardian, 10 April 2012

The National Union of Teachers has accused the government of wasting money on "vanity projects" after discovering that £337m has been spent on the academies and free schools programme in under two years. The NUT opposes the reforms that it says are leading to the privatisation of state education and causing a threat to national pay and conditions. Last week the DfE said that the majority of England’s state secondary schools were, or were about to become, academies. So far 24 free schools have been set up with 70 more being planned.

England's schools revolution: a progress report, two years on The Guardian, 10 April 2012

The Guardian’s education editor Jeevan Vasager examines the fast pace of change in education in England since the coalition came to power in 2010.

London Metropolitan University mulls alcohol ban for 'conservative Muslim students' The Telegraph, 12 April 2012

London Metropolitan University is considering banning the sale of alcohol from some parts of the campus because a "high percentage" of students consider drinking "immoral," Prof Malcolm Gillies said. A fifth of its students are Muslim, and most of those are female. He said the university was als “much more cautious” about the portrayal of sex on campus than universities had been 30-40 years ago. He said many Muslim students were delivered to university and picked up by male relatives.

Capital funds follow places to FE colleges Times Higher, 12 April 2012

Some capital funding for universities is being reallocated to further education colleges as a result of the government's core-and-margin system, which shifts student places to further education colleges and to universities that charge average tuition fees of £7,500 or less. The chief executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for England, Sir Alan Langlands, mentioned a small “transfer of funding” in his report to an 8 March meeting of Hefce’s board, which has just been published. The money will go to provide teaching capital for the 65 new FE colleges awarded numbers through the core/margin exercise.

FE pay gulf widens TES, 13 April 2012

Six college principals earned more than £200,000 a year last year, as the gap between pay for them and ordinary staff continued to grow, and teaching staff continued to bear the brunt of the 25 per cent cuts to the adult education budget which are expected by the end of this parliament. The SFA accounts for 2011 say colleges have already cut £88 million from their total staffing costs, and principals received an average pay rise of £4,000 or 2.5 per cent. Unions representing principals argued they are being paid for growing job insecurity and increased responsibility Most colleges have yet to implement the majority of their budget cuts, so the growing gap between the pay of lecturers and senior staff is likely to inspire more bitter opposition, writes the TES.

Apprentices are 'derided' by teachers, Ofsted finds  TES, 13 April 2012

An Ofsted report has found that bright students who choose an apprenticeship are being derided by their teachers. Inspectors, who interviewed more than 100 teenage apprentices for a report on good teaching practice, said they came across several whose schools had been hostile about apprenticeships, with social care and hairdressing being particularly scorned. Apprentices judged the advice and guidance they received in school as unsatisfactory as they said they got little information about the full range of options, other than staying at school or going to a college.

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