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A Week in Education

Young people will have to stay in education or training until 18 under plans outlined in the Queen's Speech.

A new Education and Skills Bill will require young people to be at school or in recognised training schemes. Those who do take jobs before 18 will have to do at least one day a week of accredited training.

Teenagers who refuse to stay on face spot fines of pound;50 and possible court fines of pound;200.

But the plans to tackle the 200,000 Neets - teenagers not in education, employment or training - have been criticised by the Institute of Directors and Unison, which think compulsion will not work.

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An aide to Ed Balls has recommended stopping faith schools selecting pupils based on their church attendance.

The Mail on Sunday suggested ministers were likely to change the rules on advice of Richard Brooks.

But Mr Brooks outlined the plans in a publication he produced in his previous role, as an associate director of the Institute for Public Policy Research, and not in his current position. The Department for Children, Schools and Families said it had no plans to change admissions rules for faith schools.

the popularity of French and German is still on the wane, with fewer than half of pupils taking a modern foreign language GCSE last year.

The information was obtained by the Liberal Democrats through a Parliamentary question. It disclosed that 48.3 per cent of pupils took a GCSE in 2007 - down from 83.3 per cent in 2000 when it was still compulsory.

David Laws, Lib Dem education spokesman, warned that the decline in the scale of modern language teaching and staffing could prove very difficult to reverse.

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The new head of M15 warned that school-age children were being groomed to carry out terror attacks in Britain.

Jonathan Evans highlighted the way that al-Qaeda was deliberately targeting vulnerable youngsters as terrorist recruits - some of them no older than 15 and 16.

"As I speak, terrorists are methodically and intentionally targeting young people and children in this country," he said.

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It was reported in The Sunday People that Holgate school in Nottingham had introduced a "shock punishment" of solitary confinement for pupils who had junk food.

But the pupils sent to the school's isolation room were supervised by support staff and only suffered detentions of up to an hour during their lunch or morning break. Their principal crime also seemed to be leaving the school without permission, rather than smuggling in chips.

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