Where Anglos fear to tread

1st June 2007 at 01:00
"has any member of your family tried to kill themselves? If yes, did they die?"

No, this is not one of the "intrusive" questions being asked of 10-year-olds by Ofsted. As reported in this week's TES, inspectors want to know all manner of personal details about how often children drink, smoke and eat vegetables.

Instead, this is the latest imposition by French authorities - and it makes their British counterparts look positively restrained.

Families with five and six-year-old children have received a questionnaire from MGEN, a health insurance company working in the education sector, asking if their relatives have a history of suicide, whether they have ever sampled "hair of the dog" or if they have rooted through their child's personal belongings.

Parents' groups have lambasted the nationwide survey and pressured Paris City Hall into suspending it.

The company defended its questions by saying that such research had been woefully neglected. If nothing else, the rude questions will come in handy for anyone looking to wriggle out of a bad first date.

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