Who confiscated all the pies?;Sideways Look;Briefing;The week in Education

17th December 1999 at 00:00
YOUNG movie-makers will soon be able to learn film directing, producing and writing from the comfort of their bedrooms via the first global cyber film school, a joint venture by film and television schools in Britain, America and Australia.

An inspiration for the young horror film-maker could be "Frankencell", as a new life-form created by scientists has been dubbed. Opponents have been quick to attack the US research team in Rockville, Maryland that constructed it. But project chief Dr Craig Venter said: "One can draw this up as a Frankenstein thing, but it very much uses current technologies."

Less horrific, but still state-of-the art is the technology for silent instruments - a boon for performers and even better for their neighbours. A silent cello has now been developed, joining a silent piano, violin and brass section, all produced in Japan.

One boy who would find it hard to disturb the neighbours is Carl Hobbs, the only pupil at Tomintoul secondary school, a three-class building in Scotland's highest village in the Speyside hills in Upper Banffshire. Moray council reckons it costs almost seven times more to educate him there than at Eton, and wants to close the school. Carl's parents are appealing to Donald Dewar, the First Minister.

Eton's boarding-school counterparts are enjoying a revival thanks to a changing image, possibly down to the "Harry Potter effect". Stephen Winkley, head of Uppingham, who chairs the Boarding Education Alliance, said the books engendered the sense that boarding was "quite exciting and fun".

Monmouthshire council seems hell-bent on taking the fun out of school Christmas parties by banning food prepared by parents to prevent the risk of tummy bugs. Children will have to eat shop-bought food or snacks cooked by caterers. A sad end for the traditional home-made mince pies, Christmas cakes and puddings.

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