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Shopping on curriculum?

The art of spotting a bargain in the sales might not seem the most crucial subject to add to school time-tables. But more than a fifth of girls believe that "learning to shop well" should be on the curriculum.

A survey of 379 pupils aged seven to 16 found that nearly all wanted new subjects in schools.

The top 10 most popular suggestions included lessons on sports, such as skydiving and snow boarding, working in newspapers or television, using computer games and "how to run the country". In keeping with gender stereotypes, girls were the most attracted to lessons on shopping, with 21 per cent expressing interest in the subject compared to 12 per cent of boys.

The survey was commissioned by the schools' computers company RM as part of an annual report on pupils' attitudes.

Tony Dale, sales and marketing manager for RM, denied that the fascination with shopping proved that children were becoming increasingly materialistic.

"One of the challenges that young people face is understanding the value of things," he said. "It is positive for them to realise that the value of goods can be shrouded and to seek guidance."

Mr Dale said he was also heartened that the most popular subject was money management, which interested 45 per cent of the pupils.

However, he was concerned that the third most suggested subject was "learning how to deal with peer pressure", an indication, he said, that bullying remained prevalent in schools.

The top 10 topics were: money management (45 per cent); learning to drive (42 per cent); dealing with peer pressure (41 per cent); cooking (32 per cent); sports, like skydiving, (30 per cent); computer games (27 per cent); working in newspapers and TV (22 per cent); how to shop well (21 per cent); how to run the country (13 per cent).

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