News at a glance

Poll reveals benefits of dinner-table chat

Children and young people who talk during meals with their families are more likely to put their hands up to answer questions in class, a survey has found. The poll by UK charity the National Literacy Trust also revealed that around three in 10 children spent more time online or watching television than talking to their own families. Approximately a quarter of the 35,000 eight- to 16-year-olds questioned did not sit down and talk every day over a meal.

First `parent trigger' school reopens after overhaul

The first school in the US to be transformed by the controversial "parent trigger" law reopened its doors this week as a charter school. The law gives parents the power to close a school down, sack half the teachers or force through a charter conversion, if more than half of them vote in favour of change. Similar legislation has been proposed in more than 20 US states. This week, Desert Trails Elementary School in Adelanto, California, reopened as a charter school, despite opposition from teaching unions and a rival group of parents.

Inspectorate apologises over `not safe' judgements

England's schools inspectorate has apologised and sacked staff for making judgements that were "not safe" about a residential special school where a girl was sexually abused by other students. Stanbridge Earls School in Hampshire was inspected by Ofsted three times in 2011 and 2012, with the third inspection praising its "robust" safeguarding of children and rating it "outstanding". Her Majesty's Chief Inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw, said: "We offer our sincerest apologies to the parents and children who have been affected by historic events at Stanbridge Earls."

High Court judge criticises `foolish' pushy parents

A couple who sent a barrage of complaints to their children's private school have been called "foolish, overbearing and demanding" by a High Court judge. The unnamed French couple deluged Hall School in Wimbledon, London, with complaints that included asking why their daughter had scored an A rather than an A+ in a test. The couple were told that there was no evidence to support their "unseemly" damages claim against the school, which they made after it refused to continue to educate their children.

Abu Dhabi private schools given the thumbs down

Almost two-thirds of private schools in Abu Dhabi need significant improvement, the results of a series of inspections have shown. None of the 146 inspected schools achieved the top score of "outstanding" and 100 were found to be "in need of significant improvement". Some schools in the United Arab Emirates state were praised for addressing problems but others were criticised for neglecting child safety, overcrowding classrooms and hiring unqualified teachers.

Free tickets for Shakespeare's Globe

Around 72,000 schoolchildren in London are to be given free tickets to see a Shakespeare production at the Globe theatre on the South Bank, a reconstruction of the original venue for the Bard's plays. The tickets, which will be made available over the next three years, are being offered through a project run by Globe Education and sponsored by Deutsche Bank.

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