£20k lure for maths graduates to be college teachers

Maths graduates are to be offered £20,000 to teach in England’s further education colleges, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills says.

Grants of around £9,000 will also be available to graduates who opt to teach English or work with those with special educational needs (SEN) in colleges.

Ministers want to improve the numeracy and literacy skills of those studying vocational courses at FE colleges.

Unions said the move proved good graduates were not queuing up to teach.

The announcement by the BIS comes amid concerns from employers that employees have poor maths and English skills.

Around 8.1 million people – 24% of the working-age population in England – lack basic maths skills, the government’s most recent Skills for Life Survey suggests, while 5.1 million (15%) struggle with literacy.

Teachers call for boycott of primary school literacy tests

Teachers are threatening a national boycott of new primary school literacy exams amid claims they will damage children’s education by forcing them to “jump through hoops”.

Schools could refuse to administer an exam in spelling, punctuation and grammar for 11-year-olds in England because it risks promoting a culture of “teaching to the test” at the expense of providing a broad curriculum.

The National Union of Teachers said the exam for 600,000 pupils – being introduced for the first time this year – will waste class time and fail to improve children’s literacy.

Activists are also opposed to a controversial new reading test for six-year-olds.

At the union’s annual conference in Liverpool, teachers voted to launch a campaign that could lead to a boycott of the “pointless and silly” exams in 2014.

All UK Schools need a standard reading mentor

children readingEvery school in the country must have a reading volunteer like those recruited by the Evening Standard’s literacy campaign, a leading charity said.

Beanstalk  have published a list of recommendations in its Charter for Children’s Literacy.  The need to recruit a reading mentor for every school nationwide is stop of the list.

Last year the Evening Standard’s campaign raised £500k for Beanstalk – formerly known as Volunteer Reading Help – which paid for 600 volunteers to work with 1,800 children in London.  The Mayor’s Fund for London injected a further £500k.  The £1million was enough to support another 2,000 children over three years.

UK business unhappy with school leavers’ skills

A survey conducted by the CBI employers’ group and Pearson UK across 542 businesses (1.6m employees) has found that a third of businesses are dissatisfied with schools leavers’ literacy and numeracy skills and suggests that there has been little improvement in basic skills over the past decade.

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Low literacy levels – the problem continues

In a report by the CBI, the employer’s organization showed that 42% of companies are not satisfied with the basic English skills of those who they recruit and 17% are worried about the low literacy skills of graduates.

The Evening Standard has recently initiated a Get London Reading campaign inviting members of the public to become volunteer readers in London schools. The campaign has already received huge support from politicians, writers, illustrators and celebrities. HRH the Duchess of Cornwall as patron of the National Literacy Trust has also leant her support.

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