The week

5th March 2010 at 00:00

Fretting parents waited to learn if their child would get the school place of their choice, while press reports warned of a "squeeze" on places caused by families eschewing private schools, and suggested "record numbers" of kids in some areas would miss out, and end up forced to attend Hell High. Less attention was given to this alternative finding from The Daily Telegraph: "Nationally, figures suggest more children have been given their first choice school this year".

The Conservatives announced they would "end political interference in A-levels". Whoopee! But how? Apparently by stopping the Department for Children, Schools and Families and the QCDA qualifications agency from being involved in the exams and giving greater control to universities and the exam boards. But they're keeping Ofqual, the quango responsible for meddling in grading. Oh - and the Tories plan to rewrite the curriculum for English, maths and science to meet their "rigour agenda". So no political interference with A-level exams. Just their content.

At the Daily Mail, columnist Leo McKinstry was frothing about "the sinister forces that threaten to banish school skirts". "Most parents would prefer that primary schools just teach their pupils to read and write properly rather than embarking on journeys of sexual exploration," he wrote. (Because teachers are always cancelling literacy and numeracy for that pesky "sexual exploration hour".) Fellow columnist Peter Hitchens was equally irate. Under the headline "More sex education means more teenage pregnancies ... always", he noted that "the teenage pregnancy strategy has failed". Curious, as the latest teen pregnancy rate was published last week - and it's fallen to the lowest point in 20 years.

The BBC was more worried about children's reading habits. It reported on a study by a Dundee University professor which showed boys were reading as much as girls, but opted for "less challenging" books. Part of the proof for this finding was that teenage girls were greater fans of the Twilight series. So it may just be that boys are cannier at avoiding soppy, sub-Buffy, Mormon schlock.

However, the prize for bleedin' obvious education research finding of the week went to a Swiss study reported in The Daily Telegraph. The headline? "Physical activity in schools 'makes children fitter'". Staggering stuff.

Twitter: @timesed.

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