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'Stain' of school ads

As the STUC's annual annual congress was debating a motion yesterday (Thursday) on whether to ban commercial advertising in schools, the Scottish Parent Teacher Council announced it was carrying out a survey of its members on the subject.

Judith Gillespie, development manager of the SPTC, said: "Firms that advertise in schools don't just get access to youngsters without the challenge of competition, they also get the tacit endorsement of the school."

Alan Smith, president of the Scottish School Board Association, took a less censorious view. Mr Smith said that authorities and schools must be convinced of the benefits before companies are allowed to establish a presence.

"Is product placement or sponsorship an insidious feature of modern life? Without wishing to influence the SPTC's consultation, may I ask whether there is an alternative if advertising or sponsorship is ruled offside?"

The SPTC will ask its members: "does it matter?" It will also seek their views on whether national guidelines should be introduced to control the kind of promotional activity allowed in schools, pointing to a recent "stain removing" science experiment sponsored by Ariel with the added ingredient of trial packs for use at home.

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