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A Week in Education

TEACHERS, who may be tired of being blamed for society's ills, will have found some relief this week as parents found themselves in the spotlight.

"When parents fail, can our schools succeed?" was the headline in the Daily Express above a thoughtful piece about the difficulties many schools face in making up for educational deficiencies at home.

"Lone parents, work-busy couples, not to mention incompetent and feckless parents, are not the ideal springboard into education. Our schools are in a less and less strong position to compensate," wrote David Robson.

But, in Wales, parents took the moral high ground as they forced Abertillery comprehensive school to change hotels for a forthcomingJskiing trip to SwitzerlandJforJtheir 13 and 14-year-old angels, after reading that a strip joint was based on the lower floorJon the internet.

One whose schooldays were cast in a more controversial light was David Cameron, revealed to have been punished at school for smoking cannabis. The Tory leader was "gated" for his misdemeanours.

Also in trouble was English and drama teacher Samantha Goldstone of Accrington's St Christopher's CofE high. She was being investigated over allegations that she was running an erotic, gothic vampire website.

But there isJcurrently a halo over Welsh-language teachers who have been told, in theJlatest sabbatical guide by the Assembly government, that their language of heaven skills could land them a plum job doing voluntary services overseas.

Brownie points from the government have also gone out to secondary schools in both Newport and Anglesey whose fine collaborative working has landed them a chance to join the Welsh baccalaureate revolution thisJautumnJas it bravely marched into uncharted territory.

Last week's snow-induced closures of schools across EnglandJand Wales were greeted with icy sarcasm by several commentators. "What next, no school when it rains?" barked Simon Heffer in the Daily Telegraph.

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