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The two faces of playground fads

AM I alone in seeing both good and bad in playground crazes? Currently the children in my school are crazy over Konami cards. On the downside parents find them expensive, a cause of arguments, and another chance for their offspring to say: "I need them because all my friends have them".

On the plus side, the playground is calm and children are talking to those they would not otherwise interact with. There is more space for football and other games. Maths, English and drama are there in this informal curriculum. The life skills being practised will enable my children to walk into jobs in the stock exchange, diplomatic corps, on the stage or politics.

The staffroom is a different place, as there is competition to see who can confiscate the most- valuable card. Assemblies have been solved for the term, as there is always some aspect of the previous week's trading that will illuminate any moral theme.

If only we could see into the future and predict the next craze. I had a vague idea that we could produce national curriculum cards that would have the children working hard all breaktime without realising, solve the budget problem in one go and meet targets before Charles Clarke has time to resign.

However I am not sure it would catch on. "I'll swap you one maths AT1 shape and space card for two of your English AT3 'What I did in the holidays'

cards" doesn't have the same ring as Darkfire the Magnificent or Sorcerer of the Doomed.

Never mind, it will soon be the conker season.

Kevin Williams

Head, Knebworth primary school Knebworth, Hertfordshire

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