Sideways Look

14th July 2000 at 01:00
MARTIN Caulfield is a man of style. Given a school that is to close with tuckshop profits to spend, what does he do?

Something popular with all his pupils: he's laid on a supply of luxury, soft toilet paper.

Mr Caulfield, head of Wycliffe middle school in Bradford, which is closing because of re- organisation, said: "One of the recurring grumbles was the harsh nature of the toilet roll. It's even been used as tracing paper. I thought it would be nice to give everyone an end-of-year treat."

As if further proof were required of the softening of a nation, a survey has discovered that most pupils don't like sport.

Why? Apparently because it involves getting cold and wet, hot and sweaty, falling over, public showers, or having to learn something new. Not much change there, then.

But Sport England (formerly the Sports Council) chairman Trevor Brooking blames years of non-competitive sport i schools. "There has been an extremely significant decline in the traditional 'British fighting spirit' in sport," he said.

Perhaps Sport England should take a leaf from the book of RE teacher Mike Coles, who got his pupils interested in the Bible by translating it into Cockney rhyming slang. As in: "Jesus took the Uncle Fred and the Lilian Gish and fed it to the 5,000."

Pupils loved it: Nick Tate, chief executive of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, did not.

He said: "Children ought to be introduced to it in its standard English version and literary versions such as the Authorised Version."

And finally - something to really worry about. Excluded pupils are apparently 50 times more likely to commit murder than their former classmates. Professor Colin Pritchard said: "Society cannot afford to leave these disturbed and disturbing children unsupported."

Susan Young


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