A Week in Education

10th November 2006 at 00:00
It began with a row over the future of schools that threatened to bring down the Prime Minister, and finished with barely a whimper. This week the Education and Inspections Bill finally became law. Rebellion among the ranks had been predicted over the creation of trust schools, a system of independent non-fee paying state schools during its passage.

But then Tory support and a series of concessions had long since drawn the sting from Labour backbench opposition that once threatened to overwhelm the Prime Minister. Its final parliamentary appearance barely got a mention.

Many more column inches were given to a Cornish school which had apparently banned hugging. Stephen Kenning head, of Callington community college, reportedly wrote on his school's website: "Hugging has become very acceptable among students. This is very serious not only for the victim but also for anyone accused of acting inappropriately. To avoid putting anyone at risk please avoid hugging." However, the head later issued a statement denying a no-hugging policy.

Tony Blair walked into controversy this week in the New Scientist magazine on the teaching of creationism in schools. When told it was of great concern to scientists, he replied that issue was "hugely exaggerated".

Meanwhile his education guru and schools minister, Lord Adonis, was calling for pupils to be given a bigger say in the running of their schools, following the example of Finland where they routinely become governors.

But Scandanavian pupils probably have clearer heads. An Institute for Public Policy Research report found that the number of 11 to 15-year-olds sniffing glue in Britain had shot up from 28,000 to 168,000 in the last eight years.

And details emerged of a playground attack in which a 16-year-old Natashia Jackman was stabbed in the eye with a pair of scissors at Collingwood College in Camberley, Surrey, for apparently liking the "wrong music".

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