A Week in Education

25th January 2008 at 00:00
The government has pledged to offer teenagers compulsory cookery classes in an effort to tackle obesity. The food-technology lessons will be given to all pupils aged 11 to 14, so they are able to cook at least eight healthy dishes. Pupils will also be taught basic hygiene and nutrition. But The TES has found schools will struggle to recruit hundreds of extra food-technology teachers. Schools and clubs have also been told they should provide pupils with five hours of organised exercise a week.

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Britain's toughest schools may install airport-style metal detectors to clamp down on teenage violence. Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, said that schools in London, Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham should consider the idea to help reduce knife crime. Headteachers said they were glad to have the freedom to install the devices but that few were likely to do so. The proposal is expected to be included in a government action plan to address violent crime.

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Thousands of gcse art papers have been withdrawn after schools complained about the inclusion of an image suggestive of child abuse. The AQA art and design paper asked pupils to research Heart Attack, a photograph of a naked man approaching a young girl on a bed. Four schools complained that the picture, by Australian artist Tracey Moffatt, was inappropriate. AQA recalled the paper, but claimed the choice was valid because it was a "current image".

A-levels taken today cannot be compared with the papers taken 10 years ago, according to the heads of exam boards. They told MPs that the exams changed significantly in 2000, when modular courses were introduced permitting pupils to resit individual papers. This made comparison with past exams invalid. A-levels are not just intended to prepare pupils for higher education, the exam chiefs argued; they have also become a standard school-leaving qualification.

David Cameron, the Conservative party leader, has expressed sympathy for parents who pretend to be religious to get their children into Christian schools. Mr Cameron, who hopes to send his daughter to a Church of England state school, told The Times he would not condemn "middle-class parents with sharp elbows".

A headteacher has taken a three-month sabbatical to reconnect with his spiritual side. On the ski slopes. Andrew Warren, of Mill Hill Primary in Stoke-on-Trent, is using his term-long unpaid leave to train as a ski instructor - and also hopes to spend time reflecting and praying.

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