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News in Brief

Downturn data

Two leaflets have been launched by Jane Hutt, the education minister, to help Welsh pupils get through the recession. The campaign provides data on learning and skills opportunities for 16 to 18-year-olds, and how parents can access support for them. It will target young people at youth and leisure centres, promoting the message that "learning works". But Paul Davies, the Conservative shadow education minister, said young people needed more than glossy leaflets to survive the downturn.

Cater to the masses

Teachers can learn how to prepare vegetables, decorate cakes and make bread at workshops in hospitality and catering. The WJEC exam board is running the sessions at venues across Wales and England in the autumn to coincide with the launch of a GCSE in the subject. Many teachers have requested training, the board said.

Big top fitness tips

Forget sport, pupils in Cardiff will be learning circus skills such as the trapeze and unicycling when the new school year starts. NoFit State Circus will be working with eight schools in the capital on after-school fitness programmes, teaching pupils traditional circus skills. The Cardiff-based arts company will also hold a show outside the Wales Millennium Centre from September 11-27.

Test the water to win

Chemistry students at an independent school in North Wales have won the national final of a prestigious science contest. The three teenagers from Ruthin School beat pupils from 18 other schools across the UK in the finals of the Royal Society of Chemistry's Schools' Analyst Competition at the University of Plymouth. They won a challenge to devise tests to measure calcium and magnesium in drinking water.

A novel quest

Primary pupils are being enticed to read novels with the promise of rewards. The Summer Reading Challenge for four to 11-year-olds, run by the charity Reading Agency, has been held in libraries across Wales for the past 11 years. This year, intrepid children are taking part in a quest set by Cadmus the gatekeeper, which involves reading at least six books and finding a mysterious "golden book". It is free to enter and includes advice on choosing good books from librarians.

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