News at a glance
Consent issue overlooked in sex education
Nearly a third of young people say they were not taught about consent during sex education classes, a poll in England has revealed. The Sex Education Forum, which carried out the research, said the findings showed that formal teaching on the issue was "woefully lacking". The organisation, which represents groups working to improve children's knowledge of sex and relationship issues, added that consent was "integral" to good sex education. "This survey confirms that the quality of sex education children receive is a lottery," said Lucy Emmerson, the forum's coordinator.
Schools close as US is struck by `polar vortex'
Freezing temperatures caused by the "polar vortex" sweeping across the US this week left the country's education system in chaos, forcing thousands of schools to close. Arctic conditions resulting from a freak weather front meant that wind-chill temperatures plunged to record lows, with some areas of the country feeling as low as -54 degsC. One of the worst-hit areas was Chicago, the third largest school district in the US, where all 681 schools were closed until Wednesday.
Science teacher arrested on terrorism charges
A science teacher at a UK school has been arrested on suspicion of plotting a terror attack in Syria. Jamshed Javeed, who taught at Sharples School, a secondary in Bolton, was arrested by police counter-terrorism officers during the Christmas holidays. The 29-year-old, who lives in Levenshulme, Manchester, was arrested on 22 December and has been bailed until 5 March. The arrest, which emerged this week, comes as concern grows over the number of Britons feared to have left the UK to join the predominantly Islamic factions fighting the Syrian regime.
Australia tackles truancy in aboriginal communities
Around 400 truancy officers are being recruited to improve school attendance in remote Australian aboriginal communities. Indigenous affairs minister Nigel Scullion said that A$28 million (pound;15.2 million) would be spent targeting 40 remote communities across the Northern Territory, Western Australia, Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia. The roll-out of the programme began in the Northern Territory this week.
Syrian schools to offer Russian language lessons
Russian is being introduced as a second foreign language to schools in Syria, the war-torn country's education officials have said. Students will be able to study Russian from the next academic year, alongside English, which is compulsory. A government statement did not explain the reasons for the decision but said that students would be responsible for building the "future of the nation". Since March 2011, a civil war has been raging in Syria that has led to the loss of at least 120,000 lives. Russia, which has historic links to the Syrian leadership, has been the main international supporter of the regime of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.