Buzz makes life a beach for Leo

18th February 2000 at 00:00
TONY BLAIR'S brave new Web world was shaken last week, as the Downing Street site was bombarded with racist and obscene abuse days after its launch. The Prime Minister used his first cyber-broadcast to spell out his determination to raise secondary standards; but a gremlin got in and spelt "equal" with two ls.

Another curse of the modern age, the mobile phone, was taken on by Stuart Robinson, head of St Bartholomew's in Newbury, Berkshire. He is imposing a fine every time one goes off in class: pound;5 for pupils, pound;10 for staff. A third of his 1,700 students have the gadgets. So far he has collected pound;40 in fines for charity.

Meanwhile, a headteacher has gone a step further and banned mobile phones after teenage pupils used them to organise a fight with a rival high school.

Dr Graham Nelmes, of Priestnall School in Stockport, discovered a fight had been organised with a nearby school using text messages and calls. Fortunately the schools were able to step n and only one pupil suffered minor injuries.

Back at Downing Street, the PM is said to be planning a minister for youth, responsible for the "lost generation" who are dropping out of society. The minister will also promote the "Cool Britannia" image.

Four-year-old Cameron Bamford is pretty cool about his new status as the only boy at a pre-prep at Hethersett Old Hall, near Norfolk. The isolation does not seem to have affected him. He likes school, he says, as well as Thomas the Tank Engine and the computer.

Cameron will probably join his peers in going to see Toy Story 2. The film's computer-generated characters Buzz Lightyear, Rex and Woody, are out-gunning mega star Leonardo DiCaprio's The Beach in the battle at the box offices. Industry observers said British takings of pound;7.75 million in three days were "staggering". "To get such figures it can't just be children - adults must be going as well," one said. Surely not.

Diane Spencer

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