News: Driving lessons proposed for schools

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The Independent Online

Safer motoring is likely to be put on the curriculum for schoolchildren as part of the Government's attempts to cut road deaths among teenage drivers.

The proposal to teach safer driving in schools will be included in a wide-ranging consultation document on life enhancement and preparing for work to be issued by the Government in the next few months.

It follows research in Australia and America which shows that newly qualified drivers are most likely to have accidents. Driving theory could be taught in secondary schools but Jim Fitzpatrick, the Transport Minister, has not ruled out the chance that pupils below licence age could get their first experience behind a wheel in the private grounds of some schools.

Road accidents are the biggest cause of death among 15- to 24-year-olds and research in the UK has shown that 27 per cent of male drivers are involved in a crash in their first year on the road.

Campaign to stop cyber-bullying

The Department for Children, Schools and Families has announced a campaign to tackle cyber-bullying. "Laugh at it and you're part of it" will be featuring on websites and social networking sites for six weeks and will provide practical tips on the prevention of cyber-bullying.

Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, said "Cyber-bullying is a particularly insidious type of bullying as it can follow young people wherever they go, and the anonymity that it seemingly affords to the perpetrator can make it even more stressful for the victim."

A study by the DCSF revealed that 34 per cent of 12- to 15-year-olds had experienced some form of cyber-bullying. Cyber-bullying can include posting upsetting remarks about an individual online and name-calling using mobile phones.

The £200,000 campaign is being run in conjunction with social networking sites such as Bebo and MySpace as well as mobile-phone companies. You can read more about preventing cyber-bullying on page 20.

Graduate expectations

An online poll has revealed that 44 per cent of graduates value training and development over salary and benefits when looking for a job.

This initiates the debate about whether universities are preparing their undergraduates well enough for the world of work, as potential employers worry that graduates lack basic skills upon leaving higher education and will need further basic training from within the business.

Managing director of Just IT recruitment, Sunil Duggal, said: "A key problem for bright graduates is not their lack of ability to perform the day-to-day tasks of a particular role, but the simple fact that their communication skills, attention to detail, problem-solving skills and team-working ability are not good enough, and are leaving them at the bottom of the recruitment pile."

The poll, part of research commissioned by accounting firm Ernst & Young , also suggested that people and culture was much less important, coming fifth overall.

School uniforms should be 'affordable'

Schools will risk "enforcement action" if they do not limit the cost of school uniforms, based on new advice issued by Jim Knight, Minister for Schools.

"Cost of uniforms must never be a barrier for poorer families," said Knight. "We will take action where schools have uniform policy that is needlessly and prohibitively expensive."

The guidance, published following a three-month consultation, encourages schools to adopt a uniform but warns that it must be "affordable, non-discriminatory and sensitive to the needs of the pupils".

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