Education: Oddly Enough

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The Independent Online
Spaced out: Students are offered a one-day higher education course on extraterrestrials. The class, "Not As We Know It, But It's Life, Jim; The Biology of Science", will be held at Bristol University, and will discuss UFOs; whether aliens depicted in films are plausible, and the biology of human beings. The pounds 18 course will take place at the university on 5 December. The tutor, Amanda Kear, who has a PhD in squid and octopus biology, says: "I'll explain the science as we go along. I don't expect people to turn up with PhDs."

Teacher refuses apple: Sharon Drye thought sending her seven-year-old daughter to school with an apple to eat at morning break was a healthy option. But the school has banned Jade's daily apple, as it does not allow children to eat between meals. "I went to see the head and he said it was inappropriate to eat at morning break," says Mrs Drye. "I was very angry, and said that I was sure he had a morning cup of tea and a biscuit, so why couldn't my daughter?" An Enfield education authority spokesman said the school had banned morning snacks as the playground was becoming full of litter. The acting head has now said he is not opposed to children bringing in a piece of fruit, but he wishes to talk to staff before changing the policy. Mrs Drye says she will keep her daughter from school until the policy is officially reversed.

Student pranks 1: Armed police and dog-handlers swooped on three students spotted brandishing toy laser guns last week. Police in Headingley, Leeds, were alerted after passers-by saw them carrying what they thought were firearms. They were arrested within 15 minutes. "The men were released...in the early hours after being given a strong warning about their conduct," says Inspector Tim Redhead. "When we receive reports of guns we have to...take the matter seriously. These students were not aware of the consequences of their actions, although they may be now."

Student pranks 2: Five students who were accused of sneaking into the Cincinnati Zoo and trying to ride the camels have pleaded no contest to criminal trespassing, and have been fined $150 (pounds 89) each. The University of Cincinnati students scaled a fence to get into the zoo at 3.30am on Sunday, and then climbed another fence to get to the camel pit before security officers caught them.

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