News at a glance

16th August 2013 at 01:00

ADHD diagnoses fuel psychotropic drug boom

The number of prescriptions for drugs used to treat conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in the UK has increased by 56 per cent since 2007, figures have revealed. In 2012, GPs gave out 657,000 prescriptions for methylphenidate drugs, including Ritalin - up from 420,000 six years ago. Health watchdog the Care Quality Commission blames the rise in the use of psychotropic drugs on increased diagnosis of ADHD in children and adults. The commission raised concerns that the medication is being used by students as a "smart drug" to improve academic performance.

Students shared test photos online to `gain attention'

Students from around 250 Californian schools posted photos on social media websites while sitting their end of year tests. At 16 of the schools, students were discovered to have posted pictures of actual test questions, prompting concerns around security when exams are taking place. Deborah Sigman, deputy superintendent in the California Department of Education, said the tests would still be deemed valid. "It looks to us as though most of these postings were about gaining some attention and communication with peers, and not an active (attempt) to try to game the system in terms of the assessment," she added.

Picture books best for boosting literacy, study finds

The most effective way to improve the literacy of many children is to ignore words and instead concentrate on picture books, according to research from the University of Glasgow. The approach was initially developed to help migrant children with poor English, but a study has revealed that it is also effective with native English speakers. Children at two Glasgow primary schools were encouraged to make up their own stories and produce artwork, which was found to improve their general "language competencies". Project leader Dr Evelyn Arizpe said the study had turned on its head the idea that children who cannot speak English are at a fundamental disadvantage in developing literacy skills.

Strike action threatened over Greek job cuts

Greek teachers have vowed to strike over proposed job cuts, despite the threat of being arrested. The government has named more than 2,000 teachers in technical high schools as being at risk. Their pay is being cut by a quarter and if they haven't found a new job within eight months, they will be sacked. Despite a strike ban being introduced by ministers, as many as 40,000 teachers could take part in industrial action next month.

Matt Damon a hypocrite? Surely not

Jeb Bush, brother of former US president George W Bush and tipped as a contender for the White House in 2016, has criticised Hollywood superstar Matt Damon for planning to send his children to private school, despite championing state schools. The former Florida governor tweeted: "Matt Damon refuses to enroll kids in Los Angeles Public Schools. Choice ok for Damon, why not everyone else?"

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