Two boys at the gate

The school session started with the usual trail of problems. The media found that two five-year-olds locked out of the Dundee school of their parents' choice made for more of a heart-tugging photograph than the customary set of triplets destined to confuse a primary 1 teacher.

Unfinished building business almost caused a teacher walkout at Lenzie Academy. Teachers at the Nicolson Institute in Stornoway were not pleased when two advisers were sent in to act as assistant heads. The troubled school is to have a special week-long HMI scrutiny next month.

On the eve of the last Test match, the Ashes already lost, our erstwhile Prime Minister John Major moved into the limelight from his self-imposed exile to accuse the Government of "political spite" for banning cricket from the new sports academy - his pet project.

And two centuries of tradition ended when the women's cricket team swapped their culottes - known as "Mayfield shorts" - for trousers in their one-day international matches against South Africa, much to the regret of the chaps in the pavilion.

While prospective students continue to scan the vacancies lists to find themselves a place, some of those already signed up are receiving lessons in good manners. In Edinburgh, those living in tenement blocks are being given advice on how to avoid conflict with "civilian" neighbours. Noise, rubbish and stair cleaning are all topics for examination.

But any school-leaver daunted by the prospect of staying on good terms with Morningside matrons should turn to the University of Wales, Lampeter, which has introduced a degree in Australian studies. Successful applicants can study such antipodean icons as barbies, tinnies and surfies in an academically demanding degree - and spend half of their last year in Oz.

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