Arts and Entertainment

It's worth remembering that fairy tales were not originally thought of as children's stories.

Teaching unions considering boycott to 'stop SATs in their tracks'

A boycott of administering SATs for 11-year-olds by school heads would effectively "stop them in their tracks", the leader of the country's largest headteachers' organisation said yesterday.

Clare Higgins: 'I was a bit of an odd child'

An epiphany at the Royal Shakespeare Company led the award-winning actress first to misbehaviour, and then stardom

Fantastic Mr Fox, Wes Anderson, 87 mins, (PG)<br/>Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant, Paul Weitz, 103 mins, (12A)

A Roald Dahl tale in the hands of Wes Anderson proves to be a typically idiosyncratic experience

Michael Church: This plan misses so many key points about education

So, Ed Balls is rethinking his plans to turn 11 million Britons into paedophile suspects: not much of a surprise, given the near-universal derision that greeted it. The plan may need "adjustments", he says, which we can take as code for a total retreat: yet another crack-brained New Labour notion is about to bite the dust – and so it should. The Vetting and Barring Scheme requires everyone having regular contact with children, in any context outside a family one, to be approved by the Government after registering on a state-run database.

Ministers retreat on child database

Ed Balls agrees to review controversial anti-paedophile vetting scheme

Anthony Seldon: We need trust, not more surveillance

Children must be protected but it&rsquo;s a question of balance, and we&rsquo;re losing it

Boyd Tonkin: Front runner who tramples our myths

The Week In Books

Restore creativity in classroom, says Laureate

Anthony Browne calls for art to be given an even footing with reading

Letters: Defence duty

Defence chiefs must speak out to stay loyal to forces

Child database: danger of malicious reporting

Child protection register raises fears that individuals could be unfairly slandered

Damian Green: Technology should not be excuse to erode our precious freedoms

It is not surprising that Philip Pullman and other authors are enraged at having to pay £64 for a licence to introduce schoolchildren to literature. The way the Government has gone about this is just another in the long line of examples of reaching for a database to solve a problem when this could easily do more harm then good. These databases are presented as being for the convenience of the citizen, when the overwhelming driver is the convenience of the state.

Eleven million names on school vetting database

Outcry grows as scale of Government's child protection register revealed

Authors boycott schools over sex-offence register

A group of respected British children's authors and illustrators will stop visiting schools from the start of the next academic year, in protest at a new government scheme that requires them to register on a database in case they pose a danger to children.

Tim Lott: Our land changes by the hour, but novelists have nothing to say

There are plenty of good writers, but where are the novels that tackle the big issues

DJ Taylor: Let's forget about imposing our tastes on our children

The trouble is that the roots of this list of 'great books' lie in adult nostalgia
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home