Gone daffed over the spring menu

6th April 2001 at 01:00
AS spring has sprung, it was apt to read about David Bishop, the "daff Rev" who munched his way through a handful of daffodil petals to make the point "seeing is believing" to his young audience at St Paul CE primary in Bexhill, East Sussex. Unfortunately, 16 of them ended up in hospital after copying his trick, which he has promised not to repeat.

That incident happened just before the start of National School Meals week launched by Jacqui Smith, the schools standards minister. Tough new Department for Education and Employment guidelines decree that primary children can be served chips only twice a week, while secondaries must offer a healthier alternative.

Apparently, school menus read more like Islington than Ilkley, with tomato and mozzarella panini, rather than sausage, beans and chips. P> David Blunkett has been busy too, ushering in the digital age to the classroom with a plan to put material for the national curriculum online. From September 2002, schools will be able to offer their pupils the opportunity to study in six GCSEs using a digital TV channel. How many more initiatives can he pack in before the delayed election?

The Education Secretary's no-nonsense style is rubbing off in unexpected places. The headmaster of Eton College was moved to admonish parents for turning the school's annual Fourth of June celebrations into a vulgar display of corporate hospitality. A parent said, in the true spirit of Mr Blair's classless society: "There has been a growing, year-on-year problem of 'showy' parents inviting too many of the wrong sort of people."

Diane Spencer


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