Education diary: Education's most active unionist

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The Independent Online

* With all this talk of today's National Union of Teachers strike, spare a thought for education's most active unionist, Hank Roberts. Roberts, the man who wants to unify the unions, is a member of all three major teachers' organisations. So what is he to do when one of the unions goes on strike for the first time in 21 years and organises a march on Westminster? Well, it's all plain sailing. Roberts will be going on strike and joining the protest rally in Westminster (he's been around long enough to have marched in the last one). Besides, theoretically, he could face disciplinary action if he went into work. So it's a no-brainer, really.

* There was a news story a few weeks ago that you may have missed. Apparently increasing numbers of parents in Spain are divorcing to increase their children's chances of getting into their preferred state school. Finding a good state school can be difficult for Spaniards – which will undoubtedly ring true with a lot of Brits. But divorcing won't boost the chances of getting our children into good schools. And so we must, as Brits, do the only thing we can: put our offspring into care. Handing your sproglets over to social services will get you into the local hothouse faster than you can say "my child's got an Asbo!"

* The University of Bradford is hoping to save some 500 tonnes of carbon a year by installing a new biomass boiler, fired on wood chips – a renewable, carbon-neutral energy source. This should, of course, be applauded. But, more worryingly, the boiler is part of a new Energy and Recycling Centre which is, you guessed it, at the rear of the University's J B Priestley Library. Is this a sneaky way for Bradford to purge the bloated stacks on its library shelves? www.bradford.ac.uk/ecoversity

* Last Autumn we reported from the Palestinian territories on the building of a school (above, right) in Fasayil, in the Jordan Valley. Construction began in the summer of 2007 in defiance of Israel's ban on house building. In early December, the project suffered a setback as some of the walls collapsed during unusually heavy weather. But last week, a delegation of students from Brighton who visited the school reported that the first classroom is completed and ready for use. The village has also been promised a teacher by the Palestinian Authority. The British students donated art and sports equipment to the new school, which will open in September.

* Here's one for all you fashionistas. Graduate Fashion week (confusingly, a four-day event) has announced a brand new education day, brilliantly titled Graduate Fashion Week Education Day. The event, targeted at school children aged 14 to 18 and those at further education colleges, will take place on 12 June at Earls Court 2. Some 49 universities will be promoting their courses and schools from around the UK will bring groups of interested students for a packed day of research, catwalk shows and careers education. During the day, as well as the stands, visitors will be able to see one of three Gala catwalk shows, as well as two Audience with Careers Clinics, designed for students to find out how to get into the industry and give them an idea of what working in fashion will be like. Presumably there will be professionals on hand to give guests the evil eyes up and down...

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