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1st September 2000 at 01:00
An environmentally friendly form of wrapping that is made from tough but degradable plastic has been developed by Symphony Environmental. Fyffes is now using it for packing bananas, and the two companies have produced a free educational CD-Rom to cover elements of the key stage 2 curriculum for Design and Technology. Plastics and the Environment provides many facts and statistics (120 million tonnes of rubbish produced annually and buried in plastic bags). It also offers ideas about waste management, making available a variety of printable items including games, project sheets and materials for both teachers and future citizens.

The Plastics and the Environment education pack and CD-Rom, is available free from Fyffes, PO Box 45, Prestwich, Manchester M45 8FY.

Teachers of children in care often know little of their lives outside the classroom. A report from the NSPCC, Official Friends and Friendly Officials, deals with the vital question of independent visitors. The proper role of these volunteers who support, advise and befriend "their" young person has not always been clear.

Questions of confidence and intrusion are explored in this sensible and thorough account, which makes a timey appearance after the horrifying care home scandals of the 1990s. It highlights the need for long-term commitment by, and training for, independent visitors, and it gives the children themselves a chance to air their views.

Official Friends and Friendly Officials is available at pound;15 from the NSPCC Publications and Information Unit, 42 Curtain Road, London EC2A 3NH. Tel: 020 7825 2775.Email: infounit@nspcc.org.uk Teenage drinkers are not the only potential beneficiaries of TheAlcohol Education Resource Directory. This collection will be of value to teachers of PSHE or with pastoral responsibility, and to parents. It provides admirably clear lists of teaching packs, books, videos, CD-Roms, leaflets, games and websites, adding guidance on age groups, contact numbers and costs. There are also suggestions about theatre in education and specialist speakers.

Copies of The Alcohol Education Resource Directory are being sent to schools. For further information, advice on funding for in-service training or extra copies, contact The Portman Group, 7-10 Chandos Street, Cavendish Square, London W1M 9DE. Tel: 020 7907 3700. Fax: 020 7907 3710. Website: www.portman-group.org.uk Tom Deveson

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