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Start religious education at age 4, report says

Children should begin to learn about different world religions and visit places of worship from the age of 4, a report says. A review by the Religious Education Council of England and Wales said that primary students should discuss big questions such as whether God is real and the origins of the universe. The report was produced after inspectors reported that schools were failing to deliver good lessons in the subject. The document sets out guidelines for a new religious education curriculum.

The link between exercise and exam success

Regular exercise when young could help children to perform better in academic tests later in life, new research suggests. Moderate to vigorous exercise seems to correlate in particular with girls doing better in science, according to a report from the universities of Dundee and Strathclyde in Scotland. Academics analysed 5,000 children's exercise levels at the age of 11, and compared them to their scores in English, maths and science at the ages of 11, 13 and 15 or 16. Better results in all subjects were linked to the amount of activity undertaken.

Principal charged with murder over lunch deaths

A principal and her husband have been charged with murder in India after the deaths of 23 schoolchildren who were fed school lunches contaminated with insecticide. Meena Kumari and her husband, Arjun Rai, went into hiding soon after students at the school in the state of Bihar fell ill. Police arrested Ms Kumari a week after the deaths in July, but Mr Rai evaded arrest for nearly two months. Police said that the school chef had mistakenly cooked with insecticide that was stored on the premises by Mr Rai.

Schools close as smog - and spiders - descend

Schools have been closed in a major Chinese city because of smog. All schools up to middle-school level were closed in the north-eastern city of Harbin after the pollution-induced haze descended on the city at the start of this week. Meanwhile, in the UK, an infestation of venomous spiders led to the closure of a secondary school. The discovery of the potentially dangerous false widow spiders at the Dean Academy in Lydney, Gloucestershire, forced senior staff to make the decision on health and safety grounds.

Complaints prompt online `school' to review videos

The Khan Academy online "school" has employed contractors to review the accuracy of many of its videos after receiving complaints, The Washington Post reported. Salman Khan, the academy's founder, said in an email that "more process" was needed because his enterprise had expanded in recent years. The Khan Academy is an online library of thousands of videos on school subjects. Since it was established in 2006, it has been praised by figures including Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.

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