In brief

24th April 2009 at 01:00

New schools open

Four more Building Schools for the Future (BSF) schools have opened this month, bringing the total to 58. New schools in Lewisham, Leicester, Lambeth and Durham all opened with brand-new buildings. But the programme is still well behind the targets set when it began five years ago. Tim Byles, chief executive of Partnerships for Schools, the government agency responsible for delivering the scheme, said: "BSF is now giving many young people a fresh start and the chance to re-evaluate what they want to do with their lives by providing 21st-century learning environments in which they can flourish and reach their full potential."

Facebook guidance

A handbook has been launched to encourage schools to embrace social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. The guidance, issued by Futurelab, a not-for-profit "education innovator", is intended to promote the creation and sharing of information while providing schools with practical solutions on how technology can help pupils of differing abilities to reach their potential. The report, Using Digital Technologies to Promote Inclusive Practices in Education, can be downloaded free from

It's just not cricket

More than half (52 per cent) of pupils aged between eight and 16 say they have seen cheating in school games, a survey has revealed. The poll, conducted by Marylebone Cricket Club and the Cricket Foundation, a charity, also found that Liverpool was the area where children were most likely to see unfair play - 65 per cent of children there said they witnessed it regularly. The survey came as thousands of pupils across the country received lessons this week on how to be good sports.

The cricket club and the foundation teamed up on Tuesday to launch Chance to Shine, an initiative that aims to bring competitive cricket back to a third of state schools by 2015.

VSO volunteers wanted

Teachers who want to spend the next academic year abroad are being asked to volunteer by May 31 to help the charity VSO in Africa and Asia. The organisation wants 50 experienced primary school teachers to apply for the scheme, which will run in Malawi, Nepal and Nigeria. Those chosen to take part will share their skills with local teachers - many of whom have had little training - by working with a cluster of schools. Volunteers will observe lessons, run workshops and help to produce educational materials using local resources. Similar schemes have been successful, and 3,500 teachers have volunteered with VSO in the past six years. All those chosen will receive flights, accommodation and an allowance to cover basic costs.

Cherie to open nursery

Cherie Blair is to attend the official opening of an inclusive nursery in north-west London this week. The barrister is patron of children's services for the charity Norwood that runs the nursery, based at the Kennedy Leigh Centre and Pears Wing in Hendon. The nursery, which opened in September 2008, caters for children aged two to five with and without learning difficulties.

Deafness conference

National experts are set to discuss the future of deaf education at the first conference of its kind next month. Those attending the event, to be held at Frank Barnes School in north-west London on May 7, will talk about universal newborn hearing screening and the early identification of deafness, how professionals can support parents, what is needed in new schools for the deaf, and effective communication. Guest speakers will include Professor Alys Young from the University of Manchester; Professor Bencie Woll, chair in sign language and deaf studies and director of the deafness centre at University College London; Jackie Salter, from the Ear Foundation in Nottingham; and Dr Nicoletta Gentili from Springfield Hospital in London.

Music festival

Music students across the country will descend on Birmingham as part of the National Festival of Music for Youth this July. Now in its 39th year, the seven-day event brings together more than 10,000 of the country's most exciting young musicians to take part in workshops and perform live to audiences in some of the city's most impressive venues.

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