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News in Brief

Clampdown races

A popular education scheme which organises school visits to racecourses has been condemned by an academic who claims it encourages children to gamble. Dr Mark Griffiths, director of the International Gaming Research Unit at Nottingham Trent University, said the British Horseracing Education and Standards Trust's Racing to School programme was irresponsible. The trust said children were "in no way" encouraged to gamble and that the visits supported a range of national curriculum subjects.

Boost for kitchen staff

The School Food Trust has announced the first 11 centres in a new national network of training schools for kitchen staff. School Feast (food excellence and skills training) centres, as they will be called, are part of a pound;2 million government scheme to train school cooks, kitchen assistants, lunchtime supervisors, teachers, bursars and employers. For more details see

Church schools survey

Nearly half of people who regard Church of England schools as different from state-run schools think their admissions policies favour children from better-off backgrounds, a survey found. But the research by the Church of England found 80 per cent of people also thought they helped children to learn the difference between right and wrong. The Rev Jan Ainsworth, Church of England chief education officer, denied that the schools were socially selective.

Higher focus on drugs

A senior police officer has said drugs education is a "postcode lottery". Howard Roberts, deputy chief constable of Nottinghamshire Police and vice-chair of the Association of Chief Police Officers' drugs committee, said there needed to be a greater focus on young people to reduce the numbers of future drug users. Specially trained people should be in place to deliver the message to schools throughout the UK, he said.

Grants for science

Schools with many poor or ethnic minority pupils are being offered grants to organise events for National Science and Engineering Week. The British Association for the Advancement of Science is offering government grants of up to pound;500. The deadline for applications is Friday November 30 and National Science and Engineering Week runs from March 7 to 16, 2008. See www.the-ba.netschoolgrants.

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