A Week in Education

11th July 2008 at 01:00
Sexual health charities announced they would like to see four-year-olds learning the rudiments of sex and relationships education
Sexual health charities announced they would like to see four-year-olds learning the rudiments of sex and relationships education. The Family Planning Association and Brook, the sexual health advisory group, said it would stop young people rushing into sex too soon, cut sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies.

Children in their first year of primary would learn about the parts of the body and relationships with friends and family. And Brook wants secondaries to ensure young people have access to free contraceptives and confidential sexual health services.

But pressure groups have spoken out against the proposals. Norman Wells, director of the Family Education Trust, said: "What this is really all about is trying to force schools to do something many parents - and many teachers - are uncomfortable with."

A teacher has been suspended amid claims she punished two boys for refusing to kneel and pray like Muslims during a religious studies lesson. A number of parents complained, claiming the pupils at Alsager High School in Stoke on Trent were given detention for being "disrespectful" to the prophet.

The incident is believed to have taken place during a practical demonstration of how God is worshipped in Islam. Cheshire county council said the incident would be "thoroughly" looked into.

Kevin Brennan, the junior children's minister, said he would like schools to keep pupils on school grounds during the lunch hour, to stop them gorging on junk food. He said he was "strongly supportive" of schools that stopped under-16s straying off-site. He believes the strategy would also result in improved behaviour and better community relations.

But John Dunford, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said it was not always possible to police large sites with many exits. Others condemned the move as "nanny state-ist".

An independent review led by a Tory MP has labelled services for children with language difficulties as "highly unsatisfactory".

John Bercow found that, in some areas, up to half of children have significant speech, language and communication needs. Overall, around 7 per cent of five-year-olds had significant needs. He urged the Government to set up a commission to implement the review's 40 recommendations.

While most schools were enjoying end-of-term fetes and sports days, Larkman Primary School in Norwich was left dealing with a swarm of bees. The 300 pupils stayed at home for a day last week after thousands of bees were discovered in a music department cupboard.

It is believed a nearby honey bee hive had been damaged the previous night and the bees had buzzed off in search of pastures new. They took a shine to the school gardens, then entered the building itself.

Pest controllers were sent in after they entered the cavity walls.

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