News at a glance

1st November 2013 at 00:00

Thousands sign term-time holiday petition

A petition to overturn new rules clamping down on schoolchildren in England taking term-time holidays has been signed by 126,000 people. School leaders can no longer grant any leave during term time unless there are "exceptional circumstances". Previously, they could grant up to 10 days' leave per year for family holidays in "special circumstances". Campaigners argued that the change would adversely affect families who could not afford to go away during the school holidays. They said that children with good attendance records should be allowed to enjoy "quality time" with their parents.

Leading poet joins call to cut down on testing

Author and poet Maya Angelou has criticised US president Barack Obama's education policies, claiming that the increasing number of tests is putting American children off books and reading. Ms Angelou was one of more than 120 people who signed a letter asking Mr Obama to cut down on standardised testing, The Washington Post reported. The author of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings has specifically criticised the Race to the Top initiative, which critics say has led to increased testing by states bidding for funds. She said the policy felt like "a contest" where it was not a case of what you learned but "how much can you memorise".

Rap video employee was dismissed 'without cause'

A 50-year-old teaching assistant who lost her job at a French Catholic school after appearing in a sexually charged rap video has won a tribunal case against her employer. A judge found that Veronique Bonazzola had been dismissed "without any real or serious cause". Claude Backes, director-general of the College Notre Dame de la Tramontane, where Ms Bonazzola had worked for 20 years, had said that the role was "incompatible with the nature of this person's work and the rules of the institution". But a court ruled in favour of the part-time actor, and criticised the school for not making it clear that her activities outside school might impinge on her day job.

German state bans Facebook for school business

A German state has banned teachers and students from using Facebook for any school business, because of concerns over the way the site uses people's data for commercial purposes. Education officials in Rhineland-Palatinate have told schools that any contact with students via Facebook is off limits, including for organising school trips or setting homework. There are also concerns about inappropriate contact between teachers and students over the social networking site. "More and more, in certain schools, there are teachers and students who talk about school-related topics over Facebook, and we do not want that," state education ministry spokesman Wolf-Juergen Karle told news agency Agence France-Presse.

'I (love) boobies' battle may go to Supreme Court

A battle between two girls and their school over their right to wear bracelets bearing the slogan "I (love) boobies" could be heard in the US Supreme Court. The Easton Area School District in Pennsylvania is to appeal against a court decision rejecting its claim that the bracelets - promoting breast cancer awareness - were lewd and should not be worn to school. The case started in 2010 when the girls, then aged 12 and 13, challenged their suspension for wearing the bracelets on their school's Breast Cancer Awareness Day. John Reinhart, Easton Area superintendent, said the bracelets were "cause-based marketing energised by sexual double entendres".

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