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The Independent Online
Hurry to be a young MP

Schools need to move quickly if they want to take part in the 1995/96 Motorola Youth Parliament Competition. The competition gives students the opportunity to learn about Parliament in an original and lively way by setting up their own question time and debate and making a video of it.

An essay competition sponsored by the Independent runs alongside the video competition. Students are invited to use their journalistic skills to write a column or a leading article on a political issue of their choice.

To enter either or both competitions, please contact the Citizenship Foundation, Weddel House, 13 West Smithfield, London, EC1A 9HY (0171-236 2171, fax 0171-329 3702) for an application form and return it by the end of the month. Schools have until the end of February to submit their video and essay entries.

Library initiative award

Anne Scott, head of Children's Library Services in Sunderland Libraries, has won the Library Association/Holt Jackson Community Initiative Award for developing the Bookstart programme in her area.

Under the scheme, which was featured in last week's Education pages, nine-month-old infants are given a starter readers' pack. Researchers have discovered early exposure to the scheme accelerates child development and believe it could be the key to improved literacy levels.

Birmingham sets targets

Schools in Birmingham are setting targets for literacy and numeracy at ages seven and 11 as part of a wide-ranging programme to raise standards recommended by an education commission headed by Professor Ted Wragg, of Exeter University. Eventually, the local authority hopes to set citywide targets for both national curriculum tests and GCSE exams.