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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Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee