From today's UK papers

February 12, 2002

Brighter pupils allowed to skip GCSEs
The most able pupils will be fast-tracked through secondary education, skipping GCSEs to go straight to AS levels, in a radical overhaul of the curriculum to be announced today. (Daily Telegraph, Times, Guardian)

Seven-year-olds to learn foreign languages
Every seven-year-old in England will be entitled to learn a foreign language from 2010, the government will announce today in its schools green paper. (Financial Times, Independent, Guardian)

Government tops UK advertising league
Spending £143 million, the government was by far the biggest advertiser in Britain last year, prompting charges from the Conservatives last night that it had squandered taxpayers' money on electioneering. (Financial Times)

Catholics make up 51% of Ulster pupils
Protestants are no longer a majority among Northern Ireland's school children. Roman Catholics now account for 51 per cent of all pupils at nursery, primary and secondary schools. The statistic, which is contained in the latest analysis by Northern Ireland's education department, suggests Catholics of voting age could soon outnumber Protestants. (Financial Times)

Anti-depressant prescriptions soar
Prescriptions for anti-depressants have increased two and a half times in ten years but patients are given misleading advice about their safety, according to consumer health watchdog Health Which?. 22 million prescriptions were written for anti-depressants in 2000 compared with 9 million in 1991. (Daily Telegraph, Independent)

'Feeling in your bones' is a myth
The common belief that people can feel a change in the weather "in their bones" does not stand up to scientific scrutiny. A study of women suffering from fibromyalgia - unexplained pain and stiffness in muscles, joints and tendons - conducted by Ostmarka University, Norway, found that the weather did not cause their condition, nor was it a predictor of pain. (Daily Telegraph)

Darwin's pickled fish swim into view
Zoological specimens collected by Charles Darwin on his voayage to the Galapagos Islands are to be displayed in public for the first time with the opening of a £ million wing of the Natural History Museum that bears his name. The seven pickled specimens, which have been in the museum's archives since they were preserved during Darwin's 1834 voyage aboard HMS Beagle, will go on show at the Darwin Centre when it opens in September. (Times, Daily Telegraph)

Careers in mind
An investigation into why psychology is now one of the most popular degree subjects among both students and employers. (Guardian)

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