News in Brief

19th September 2008 at 01:00

Biggest school on way

Plans for the biggest school in the country are a step closer after councillors in Nottingham agreed to talks on an academy for more than 3,500 pupils. The Nottingham Academy, which will cost more than Pounds 50 million, would be sponsored by Greenwood Dale School. The proposal is to merge Greenwood Dale with another secondary and primary in the city. A final decision is expected in November.

Hare Krishna primary

The country's first Hindu state school opened in London this week, offering daily sessions of yoga and meditation to pupils. The Krishna- Avanti Primary in Harrow, north-west London, has taken up to 30 pupils in temporary accommodation and will move to new facilities, including a temple, next year. Naina Parmar, the head, said it would be inclusive and cater for all followers of Hinduism. But critics have complained that it was designed for Hare Krishna followers, who are a Hindu minority. The original admissions code, which called for parents to be vegetarian and teetotal, has been dropped.

Pupil left out in cold

An experienced reception teacher has been found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct for locking a 4-year-old special needs pupil out in the cold in shorts and a T-shirt. The boy stood in the playground for 10 minutes in "inclement weather". But England's General Teaching Council found the actions of the East Yorkshire teacher, Christine Richardson, were entirely out of character, and no disciplinary order was imposed.

Wind turbine dispute

A secondary school is appealing after its local council refused to let it build two wind turbines in its grounds. A planning inspector will now make the final decision on the two 15-metre generators at Coombe Dean School in Plymouth, Devon. Residents say the turbines will be an eyesore. The school argues that the machines would create Pounds 10,000 in green energy for the school and educate children about the environment.

Diplomas: have a say

Teachers are being invited to give their views on the 14-19 diploma in humanities and social sciences, which will be available from 2011. The design of the diplomas is being overseen by Creative and Cultural Skills, the skills council for creative industries, which will hold three consultation events at Warwick University on September 23, the Adelphi Hotel in Liverpool on October 1, and the Royal Geographical Society in London on October 7. Sir Keith Ajegbo, the headteacher chairing the partnership that is developing the diploma, said the qualification would "offer young people at all ability levels the opportunity to apply relevant learning and understanding to real situations in the complex world they live in". To contribute to the consultations at the events or online, email

Decline of reading

Fewer parents read to their children every day compared with two years ago. A report for the campaign groups Booktime and Booked Up shows only one in three parents or carers reads aloud to children daily compared with nearly half in 2006. Younger children are more likely to read with parents, with half of children aged four to five reading with an adult daily, compared with only 7 per cent of children aged 11-12. Parents said reasons such as too much else to do (35 per cent), tiredness (30 per cent) and cooking dinner (25 per cent) prevented them from reading with their children.


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