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Report condemns sexism in French education

Schools in France are sexist and reinforce gender stereotypes, an official government report claims. French education ministry inspectors found that teachers give preferential treatment to boys "while remaining convinced they are being totally fair", newspaper Le Figaro reported. Girls are often chosen to "look after" the class in the absence of the teacher because they are considered to be helpful and responsible, it said. Boys, meanwhile, receive more attention from the teacher. The report arrives as a new gender equality law is due to be debated in France.

End 'Oxbridge hegemony', elite school leader urges

The status of the UK's top universities needs to be elevated to a "super Ivy League" in order to end the "Oxbridge hegemony", a leading principal has said. Tim Hands, the incoming chair of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference of elite private schools, said he regularly has to tell parents that the universities of Oxford and Cambridge are "not the be-all and should not become the end-all". "Parents and pupils do tend to see those universities ... as being apart, in a league of their own. I think that can be very harmful to young people's self-perceptions and to parents' aspirations," he told The Daily Telegraph. Magdalen College School in Oxford, where Dr Hands is master, is sending 47 students to Oxbridge this year.

Claims of anti-gay sex education policy investigated

The English and Welsh governments are to investigate a number of schools whose sex and relationships education policies echo defunct anti-homosexuality legislation. The investigation comes after the British Humanist Association drew attention to documentation from 46 schools that uses language reminiscent of the revoked Section 28 legislation, which banned schools from "promoting homosexuality". Gay rights campaigners have called for "confusing" government guidance on sex education to be revised, as it was written three years before Section 28 was repealed in 2003.

South Korea student suicide rate decreases

The number of South Korean school students who committed suicide fell in 2012, and the figure was the lowest recorded for three years, according to the government. In total, 139 students took their own lives. The education department report said that family problems accounted for around 40 per cent of the deaths, 16 per cent were triggered by depression and 11.5 per cent by exam stress. South Korea has the highest overall suicide rate among members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Parents fear term-date chaos, survey shows

Plans to allow schools in England to set their own term dates will make life harder for families, a survey has found. Three-quarters of parents say the move will make it tougher for those who have children at more than one school to arrange childcare and family activities. The survey, conducted by parenting website Netmums and charity 4Children, found that around one in seven parents wanted a shorter summer break and a longer Christmas holiday. Around a third would like time off to be spread more evenly throughout the year.

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