Term-time holiday dad loses court battle over school fine

Term-time holiday dad loses court battle over school fine

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A father has lost his legal challenge against a fine for taking his daughter out of primary school on an unauthorised holiday during term time. The Supreme Court ruled against Jon Platt, who had won earlier legal battles against a £120 fine in a case brought by the Isle of Wight council. Mr Platt said the decision, over a trip to Florida, meant the "state was taking the rights away from parents". But Prime Minister Theresa May said it was for schools to decide on absences. "It's right that the individual head teacher has that flexibility to make that decision," she said. The judges ruled that the interpretation of "regular" attendance, at the centre of this long-running dispute, should be decided by the school. The decision makes clear that parents…
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Female heads ‘under-represented in secondary schools’, says study

Female heads ‘under-represented in secondary schools’, says study

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Female head teachers in England's secondary schools will remain an under-represented group for a quarter of a century, a study has found. The research notes that there has been an increase in the overall proportion of female head teachers between 2001 and 2015, from 25% to 38%. But it finds the proportion of women heads is unlikely to match that of women classroom teachers for 25 years. The University of Nottingham study says the issue is one of social justice. It says the proportion of female leaders is too low given that women account for the majority of teachers in England's secondary schools at 64%. The report assessed the number of female heads in post in state secondary schools in England, including free schools and academies, in the academic year…
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School budget squeeze ‘is reducing pupils’ subject choice’

School budget squeeze ‘is reducing pupils’ subject choice’

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Pressure on school budgets in England is leading to a narrower secondary curriculum, with teaching posts in some subjects being cut, unions have said. Teachers of subjects not included in the EBacc league table measure are the most at risk, research from the ATL and NUT unions has suggested. Of 1,200 union members polled, before the ATL annual conference in Liverpool, 93% were "pessimistic" about funding. The Department for Education says funding is at record levels. But in recent months school governors, head teachers, MPs and teacher unions have highlighted mounting financial problems in England's schools. In December, the National Audit Office said funding was not keeping pace with rising national insurance and pension costs and the budget gap would reach £3bn by the end of the decade. The two…
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‘Motherhood penalty’ in worse pay at work

‘Motherhood penalty’ in worse pay at work

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Mothers earn 3% per hour less for each child they have compared with women working in similar jobs who do not have children, say researchers. The study says this takes into account factors such as returning mothers being more likely to be in part-time jobs. The French university researchers suggest that mothers could face discrimination in applying for jobs or be consigned into lower-status posts. The report says such an income penalty is "unfair and inefficient". Income inequalities for women have often been examined in terms of a "gender gap" - in which women on average still earn less than men for similar jobs. In the UK, for full-time workers, the gender gap is 9%, based on typical hourly incomes. And last year a report by the Women and Equalities…
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‘Girls’ cancer jab could also help boys’

‘Girls’ cancer jab could also help boys’

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Boys and young men should consider being vaccinated against the human papillomavirus (HPV) to protect themselves from a range of illnesses, a conference has heard. UK girls receive an HPV vaccination to protect them from cervical cancer. But the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) wants school sex education to raise awareness that HPV can cause cancers in both sexes. Boys need information to decide whether to get the jab, the conference heard. The ATL annual conference, meeting in Liverpool, overwhelmingly backed a motion raising concerns that HPV infection is too often only discussed in the light of the risks of cervical cancer. "It wasn't until students at my school started questioning why only the girls were being vaccinated that I first started investigating the consequences of this disease. "What…
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