This week, next week

29 November - 5 December 2014


False sense of security

Ofsted shouldn't be a "schoolroom security service" according to the Rev Nigel Genders, the Church of England's head of education, who commented after a church school was downgraded amid concerns over extremism.


Breathtaking confidence

The "charmless" confidence of some private school pupils can "asphyxiate the society they move in", said Andrew Halls, headteacher of the independent King's College School in London. Goodness.


Literary devices

The National Literacy Trust said that parents should use iPads and Kindles to get children reading. Touchscreen technology is more engaging than arduously turning those heavy pages, it seems.


Outdated attitudes

Women are still being mistreated or dismissed by their employers because they are pregnant, the TUC said in a major report (bit.lyTUCreport). Attitudes to expectant mothers are "stuck in a time warp", it added.



As university language departments struggle, the Westminster Forum in London discussed how to increase take-up at degree level. Serious stuff for schools trying to boost interest in les langues trangres.


Watch this space

Another week, another major space event: soon after scientists landed a fridge-sized probe on a comet, Nasa was due to launch a test flight of the Orion space capsule, which may eventually take astronauts to Mars.


The big questions

The annual conference of schools group the SSAT comes to a close in Manchester. Lord Baker, Pasi Sahlberg, Professor Sugata Mitra and other educational grandees have been discussing the future of learning.

6-12 December 2014


No Scrooges allowed

One minute there's a controversial by-election, the next there's a Christmas festival. Rochester in Kent kicks off its annual celebration of the town's most famous former resident, Charles Dickens.


Bigwigs in the Big Apple

Expect the usual wittering on about Kate's baby bump as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit New York City. Highlights are expected to include a dinner at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.


Hail Mary

Christians, particularly Catholics, celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. The event is marked with parades, prayers and fireworks, and in countries including Spain and Malta the day is a public holiday.


Stocking fillers

Macmillan Cancer Support holds its annual Christmas stocking auction in London. Celebrities put their names to sackfuls of goodies, which are then sold off in a great cause. Make mine a soap-on-a-rope.


Rights on time

It's Human Rights Day - but don't let pupils use this as an excuse not to turn up for detention. Cultural and political events are held globally to mark the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


Happy feet

Get your high heels on, it's the National Day of Tango in Argentina. Parties and festivals take place in Buenos Aires for the event, which is also the birthday of Tango composers Carlos Gardel and Julio de Caro.


He's behind you!

Nothing says Christmas quite like Christopher Biggins in Peter Pan in Southend. Established in 2011, Panto Day is an annual campaign celebrating the best of this great British tradition.

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