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Strippers, chefs and shrinkage;The week in view

TALES of Magnificent Mandy, a fake football manager and the come-uppance of computer cribbers enliven a week dominated by exam alarms and excursions.

According to the more prurient members of the press, a former 20-stone kissogram, Mandy Mudd, has been appointed deputy head of a Fresh Start school in Tottenham, north London.

"With 20 years' teaching experince and a serious track record of achievement both in the classroom and senior management posts, she's the best person for the job," said a straight-faced Haringey spokeswoman.

Teachers at Croft House school in Hexham, Northumberland, were less than amused by a performance of a guest at their sports day. The children were delighted when Newcastle United manager Ruud Gullit turned up. The fact that he'd shrunk seven inches and spoke with a Cockney rather than a Dutch accent didn't faze them.

But after he was beaten by two seven-year-olds in a sack race it transpired he was Richie Bey a London chef. Head Janice Peer said: "When we realised who he really was, I had to work hard not to have a sense of humour failure."

Edinburgh university remain- ed po-faced over a computer science class that had its grades withheld after examiners found remarkable similarities between their scripts. A website "chat" page offered a crib sheet on e-mail. "Remember, don't copy it exactly," it warned.

However, the message conveyed by the foul-mouthed kids in the big screen version of the cult cartoon South Park has been given the thumbs- up from family values campaigners. The expec-ted outrage from American moral crusaders, including Families Against Filth, has not materialised because the film suggests that society would be a better place if parents took more interest in their children's lives.

Science fiction will come to the aid of the University of Glamorgan in a bid to encourage more students into scientific careers. A three-year course will include The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Star Wars and the classics of HG Wells and Aldous Huxley.

And finally, it's heartening to learn that education protects against the mental effects of brain-shrinking caused by age, disease and alcohol. A study by the Detroit-based Henry Ford Health System found that education had a protective effect on elderly brains. A cheerful thought for the end of term.

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