News at a glance

Assistant principal jailed over teaching exams scam

An assistant principal in the US has been jailed for seven years after being found guilty of helping people to cheat on exams to gain a teaching licence. Clarence D. Mumford Sr, who worked for the Memphis City Schools district in Tennessee, was sentenced this week after pleading guilty to enlisting teachers to impersonate people who had paid him thousands of dollars for a licence. A federal investigation found that Mr Mumford's scheme lasted 15 years, involved 36 people and saw him pocket about US$120,000 (#163;79,000).

St Trinian's inspiration opens its doors to boys

The private English girls' school that inspired the fictional St Trinian's is to break with tradition and open its doors to boys. After 132 years of accepting only female students, the Stephen Perse Foundation Junior School in Cambridge will be open to boys for the first time next year, while the senior school will admit boys from 2018. The school inspired Ronald Searle's cartoons, which featured schoolgirls drinking, smoking and gambling. The cartoons eventually led to a film franchise in the 1950s and 1960s, and to more recent films in 2007 and 2009. Boys and girls are expected to be taught separately in the majority of classes.

Young children spurn fictional fat characters

Children as young as 4 have learned to reject fictional storybook characters who are obese, new research has shown. A study, led by the University of Leeds in England, shows that perceptions and attitudes towards obesity have deteriorated and that young people appear to be more likely to dismiss characters who are overweight than those who are disabled. The research, which surveyed more than 100 children, found that they were less likely to choose a fat person as a friend than a child of normal weight or in a wheelchair.

TV star teacher turns attention to troubled children

A teacher who starred in hit British television show Educating Essex is making a new TV series, which will follow his attempts to turn around the lives of children with behavioural problems. Stephen Drew found fame in the fly-on-the-wall documentary when he was deputy head of Passmores Academy in Harlow, Essex, although he is now headteacher of Brentwood County High School. He will appear in a six-part series, with the working title All Back to School, in which he will coach children aged 9-12, many of whom are on the brink of permanent exclusion.

Former boarding school student bequeaths #163;2.1m

A former UK boarding school student has left #163;2.1 million to her alma mater so that more people can experience the education that she received. Jessie Flower, who passed away in 2011, left the gift to the Lord Wandsworth College Foundation in Hampshire, which supported her and her sister's education in the 1930s after the death of their father. The money will pay the fees of 50 foundation students. Fergus Livingstone, headmaster of Lord Wandsworth College, said: "Mrs Flower's bequest is a very significant gift for our foundation."

Philippines raises leaving age to combat poverty

Benigno Aquino, president of the Philippines, signed a law this week to make schooling compulsory for a further three years. The move is one of his key reforms aimed at lifting the country out of poverty, the AFP news agency reported, and will increase the total amount of schooling to 13 years. "We now know that our traditional 10-year basic education cycle is deficient," Mr Aquino said at the ceremony where he signed the law. "Given that our young people are at a disadvantage in terms of basic education, how can we expect them to compete for employment and other higher pursuits?"

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