Watchmen screenOllie Bray on the allure of graphic novels and Manga culture

More teachers are seeing the merits of using graphic novels to enhance teaching and learning. Unlike conventional texts, graphic novels are more accessible as they allow children to see the emotions on the characters’ faces. They are colourful, exciting and captivating. And now they can now be used on computers and online.

There are lots of types of graphic novels on the market but two series could quickly find a place on any English teacher’s bookshelves - Manga Shakespeare and Classical Comics. And software programs like Comic Life can be used for students to personalise the images for their own stories.

Gerald Haigh welcomes a new online service for 14-19, Capita's Partnership Xchange

Changes to the 14-19 curriculum – not least the arrival of the new diplomas – mean that schools and colleges can only provide the full spectrum of choice for their students if they band together in consortia or “collaboratives”. Each institution works to its strengths, and students travel to find the courses they need.

Kings Norton students 1A partnership between Birmingham City Council, Birmingham e-Learning Foundation, the National e-Learning Foundation and education ICT suppliers, including RM, has equipped more than 18,000 students at 62 secondary schools around the city with mobile computers for anytime, anywhere learning. Around 5,000 of them, who don't have internet access at home, are being provided with wireless connections. (Picture shows Kings Norton High School students with their new HP netbooks purchased through Digital Birmingham)

Jim Knight MP
Schools Minister Jim Knight: "savings"

The Government appears on course to slash staff recruitment advertising costs for schools. It will preview the new online Schools Recruitment Service at the Bett 2009 educational technology show at Olympia, London, in January.

The three partners who will run the service are expected to be announced at the end of January. A shortlist of more that 10 tenders has already been drawn up, and it is thought that the organisation that has dominated school recruitment in recent years, The Times Educational Supplement, is not on that list.

If successful, the service looks set to make major savings for schools. And schools and local authorities appear to be ready for a move away from expensive commercial outfits to a tailored not-for-profit scheme. Hundreds of them have already expressed an interest. Early adopters for the service, which will be free for the first six months, can sign up on its website (address below).