A Week in Education

8th February 2008 at 00:00
A new child safety plan was unveiled by the Government. This would make it easier for teachers to organise school trips. Ed Balls, Children, Schools and Families secretary, said he hoped the measures would help schools arrange visits to museums and field centres without time-consuming risk-assessments.

But health and safety regulations have created problems for a school in Birmingham. Its fire doors are so heavy that smaller pupils cannot open them, so they have go to the toilet in pairs. Page 8

The Government has pledged to fund trips to Auschwitz for two pupils from every secondary in England. The pound;4.65 million scheme, first reported in The TES in November, will take the teenagers on a day-trip to the notorious death-camp, where more than a million Jews, gypsies, homosexuals and disabled people perished. Each school will pay pound;100 for the visits, organised by the Holocaust Education Trust, with the remainder covered by the Government.

George Osborne, the shadow chancellor, has chosen to send his children to an independent school. Six-year-old Luke and four-year-old Liberty will attend non-selective Norland Place School, in west London, which charges pound;11,000 a year.

His decision contrasts with that of David Cameron, the Conservative leader, who has said his three children, all under the age of five, would attend state schools.

The exam board OCR gained publicity after its press agency announced its new English A-level would "take Richard and Judy into the classroom". The new syllabus allows teachers more flexibility in choosing texts which would allow them to teach novels made popular by the daytime show's book club, said the board. The specifications were published nearly a year ago, when they were first revealed in The TES. They also apply to the English literature exam, not English as the agency claimed.

A 14-year-old boy in Leeds was stabbed in a school corridor during a fight with a fellow pupil. Shaquille Clarke-Adams was stabbed in front of classmates at Allerton Grange School in Leeds. He was rushed to hospital with knife wounds in the stomach, chest and head, but is now in a stable condition. A 13-year-old boy has been arrested.

A wild boar was shot dead after being spotted on school playing fields. When it entered Ruardean Primary in Gloucestershire, staff feared it would terrorise children at breaktime. Pupils were sent indoors, while the head called a Forestry Commission ranger. When the boar charged the ranger he shot him on the spot. An assembly was later held to explain to pupils why it was necessary to kill the animal.

They said ...

'Schools are being ordered to drop the term "mum and dad" in case it offends people.'

Richard Littlejohn

we say ...

No teacher is going to get in trouble simply for saying the words "mum and dad". The columnist Richard Littlejohn's latest rant was sparked by a government-commissioned report on ways to stop homophobic bullying. It suggested teachers should avoid automatically assuming that all of their pupils had a mum and a dad, and use the phrase "parents" in letters home.

In view of the fact that at least a quarter of pupils in Britain are from single-parent families, most teachers got used to that long ago.

Littlejohn suggests that the steps schools are taking to tackle homophobic bullying are unnecessary and a result of the "intolerant, proselytising homosexuals" whom he claims run education policy.

Given that he describes children whose parents are lesbians as being from "turkey-baster families", he really needs to attend some PSHE lessons on tolerance himself.

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