Education Diary: Cameron and Brown select their children's schools

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The Independent Online

Both David Cameron and Gordon Brown have secured places for their children at their first choice primary schools. The leader of the opposition, ever the New Tory, has chosen a posh state school for daughter Nancy: St Mary Abbots, a Church of England school just off Kensington High Street, more than two miles from Chez Cameron. The school, which serves a predominantly white, middle-class area, was called a "haven of peace" in a recent Ofsted report. The Prime Minister, on the other hand, has chosen Millbank School, one mile from Number 10 for eldest son, John. It is the closest non-faith school to Downing Street and is said to be a model of high achievement, despite serving a highly diverse, underprivileged area.

It could not be further from the vision outlined by Downing Street when it first trumpeted its plans to create a new breed of "trust" schools. The idea, according to the then PM Tony Blair was to get top private schools, businesses, universities and faith schools into partnership with state schools. But the latest trust partner is eschewing the top-down approach to improving school standards and is instead introducing democracy into the running of maintained schools. Who else could it be but the Co-op, whose partnership with Reddish Vale Technology College, a comprehensive in Stockport, began on 1 March? "All pupils will have full voting rights," said Phil Arnold, head of school improvement at the school. So too will parents, carers, and all organisations the school works with in the public, private and voluntary sectors.

Early next month, some 150 10-year-olds will gather at the National College for School Leadership in Nottingham to deliver their verdict on the government review of the primary curriculum. The College is holding the "What Makes Learning Exciting?" event on 5 June – a chance for pupils to tell their elders what gets their juices flowing when it comes to learning, and how things could be improved in the future. We've had the primary curriculum since the Education Reform Act of 1988. Yes, 20 years. What if our children were only assessed every 20 years?

The Famous Five are back, and to celebrate, the Disney Channel has launched its search to find the modern-day Enid Blyton. Disney, along with book publisher Hodder, want would-be novelists to write a Famous Five: On the Case adventure of their own, using the original books and the Disney Channel's new show as inspiration. Prospective entrants will be provided with the opening sentence, which they will need to develop into a story of either 150-300 words (for the under-nines category) or 300-600 (for nine to 11-year-olds). The winner will see his or her winning entry produced as a limited edition book and an audio podcast. To enter the competition (deadline 31 July ), log on to www.disneychannel.co.uk.

And finally, some revision tips for any students beginning exams this week: Keep it colourful, and do it with a friend. That's according to lifestyle expert Matt Caulfield (www.mattcaulfield.co.uk), who says that revising with a study buddy helps to make revision more productive as you can bounce ideas off each other and gain a different perspective on things. And when it comes to writing notes: make it memorable and get the crayons out. Good luck!

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