Education Diary: Shakespeare for five year olds

Click to follow

This week it was announced that Shakespeare will soon become a headache for children as young as five, as part of a government education package for primary schools. Still, youngsters should thank their lucky stars that Barry Sheerman won't have his way. Sheerman, chairman of the Education Select Committee, asked at this week's hearing whether John Clare, the poet, could be included in the national curriculum. Heavens, no! But if you bear in mind that Clare used words like "pooty" and "crizzle", he's probably not a million miles away from the rappers of today.

More from the select committee hearing. Jim Knight was talking about the number of different groups wanting to put their oar into the national curriculum. The committee and its team of experts looking into sex education, drugs and alcohol want to see personal, social and health education (PSHE) become a compulsory part of the national curriculum. Do you have any suggestions for what you would like to see included in the national curriculum? Email

The Diary was saddened this week to learn of the death of head teacher and educationalist Michael Marland. He will be remembered by us as the man who dressed to sartorial perfection in wonderful bow ties. Marland was so smart that, looking at him, one could almost forget that he was one of the most radical teachers London has ever produced. Even in retirement he fought against the plan to turn his last school, North Westminster Community School, which had upwards of 1,500 pupils, into two academies. He lost that battle, but no one could possibly forget the man.

This year's Anne Frank Awards will be handed out at the BBC Radio Theatre in central London on Wednesday. The awards honour young people and educators who, like Anne Frank, show moral courage and exemplary values that make a difference to the lives of others. Winners this year include children who have instigated anti-bullying programmes in their schools. The Anne Frank Trust is now looking for nominations for next year's awards. For more information, visit

The Heatherley School of Fine Art, London's quintessential drawing school, has faced closure numerous times in its 163-year history. But yesterday saw the opening of its new £5m home beside Chelsea Harbour, safeguarding the school's future. The new development owes a great debt to portrait painter and school principal John Walton, 82, who bought the Heatherley name for 30 shillings in 1974 from Pitmans and rebuilt the school. Heatherley is the alma mater of Henry Moore, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Evelyn Waugh and is the only art school in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (Chelsea School of Art falls outside the borders). It is also unique in its focus on portraiture and life drawing: traditional skills neglected, and even discouraged, by other art schools (

Are you proud of your staff, customer or visitor toilets? The 2008 Loo of the Year Awards are fast approaching, and all those bursting to lavish praise on their lavatories need to get their entries in by 31 July. Awards director Mike Bone says he expects the number of toilets entered for consideration to exceed last year's 1,500 entries. See for details.