Dodging bullets in the concrete jungle

29th September 2000 at 01:00
WHO'D be a student? In our cities they are being held up at gunpoint and their bedsits burgled. Students in Manchester, with four universities, are particularly vulnerable.

Of course the concrete jungle does not compare to the real thing: Loughborough university student, Luke Dance, is recovering in La Paz, the Bolivian capital, from a three-week ordeal on a solitary trek in the lush sub-tropical valleys. He survived being thrown over a waterfall, sucked into a whirlpool and trapped on a cliff ledge until his rations ran out. He escaped with bruises, leg injuries and a two-stone weight loss.

Children's chance of reaching higher education in the first place does not just depend on academic ability. Leon Feinstein of the Centre for Economic Performance says having high self-esteem is as important for a child's long-term future as being good at maths or reading. Parents' interest in the educaton of their child and whether they exhibit hostility to the child are also hugely important, he says.

Parents of "tweenagers" might be hostile to a new breed of magazines for 11- to 16-year-olds. CosmoGirl, TeenVogue and ElleGirl will hit the streets next year for "the new breed of girl - wealthier, intelligent, passionate, have-it-all," as one editor put it. "Bored by boy bands, acne advice and the "top snogz" tips that dominate teen mags, they need a more grown-up read, she says.

The Royal Mail is providing good reads by sending poets into schools, employing a writer in residence and commissioning 12 short poem-films in an echo of the pioneering documentary Night Mail, the film made 65 years ago which combined the words of WH Auden with the music of Benjamin Britten. Anyone remember:

"This is the Night Mail Crossing the Border Bringing the cheque and the postal order."?

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