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On the naughty step - Conduct that deserves a ticking off

This week: Valentine's Day

Don't get us wrong, we love a bit of romance: breakfast in bed, walking to work glove in glove, hand-made cards (this is Austerity Britain, after all). But Valentine's Day is hard work.

Primary schools know all about it: they teach symmetry through those heart-shaped cards and combine it with a historical project on the Victorians, with their puzzle purses, love knots and acrostics.

Of course, the proposals for the new curriculum banish the Victorians to key stage 3 and define "love" as a common exception word. But there is nothing like sitting up until 10pm with pinking shears and 30 squares of red felt to make you feel that Valentine's Day is all about work.

Secondaries have it easy. They really know how to turn those teens off Valentine's Day, first horrifying them with a sex ed session on STDs, then forcing them to conjugate the verb amour.

For teachers it's a day of mixed feelings. There is something heart-warming about those giggly, hormonal teenagers, drenched in celebrity-endorsed scents, who try to overcome their thumping hearts, sweaty palms and jeering friends and do something special for someone they love.

But for the sheer amount of work involved in Valentine's Day, which seems to pile up whether you celebrate it or ignore it, 14 February is going on the naughty step. And we're getting an early night.

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