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The Learning Curve
Mon 20:30 - 21:00
Sun 23:00 - 23:30 (rpt)
The definitive guide to learning
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Latest programme
Monday 29 May 2006
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Libby Purves
Libby Purves presents this week's edition of the Learning Curve
Swedish Play School package
Plans to reform nursery education with the Early Years Foundation Stage will result in the introduction of literacy and numeracy modules to both nurseries and childminders in what is being described as a national curriculum for babies.

The plans focus attention on the debate about whether early learning boosts later achievement.

In Scandinavia the trend is in the opposite direction with formal school and learning being delayed till the age of seven and with a conscious emphasis on play in the preschools. The Swedes are shocked by the culture in the UK of targets and attainment tests in early years education but does their laissez faire system allow needy children and lazy teachers to fall through the net?

Kati Whitaker visits a preschool in Stockholm and asks whether we in Britain have lessons to learn.

Dinner Ladies
Schools employ lunchtime supervisors or SMSAs, about whom little is said or written. But now Shirley Rose has published a Handbook for Lunchtime Supervisors and their Managers. In our feature, Caroline Swinburne meets the lunchtime supervisors of Barrington C of E primary School near Cambridge .

Random Drug testing in Schools
The education minister Alan Johnson - following several statements by his predecessor Ruth Kelly - and by the Prime Minister and Gordon Brown - has taken up the cause of introducing random drug tests on pupils, and plans to extend pilot schemes and research in how - or if - it works.

Libby talks to some of the chief experts in this field, including Peter Walker, pioneer of drug testing at the Abbey School in Faversham, who now advises both the American and UK governments on this issue. Joining him are Professor Neil McKeganey of Glasgow university who has conducted an influential study of drug testing in Schools for the Joseph Rowntree foundation and Jenny McWhirter, Chair of the Drugs Education Forum, (and Head of Education and Prevention at Drugscope).

Additional information: 
Professor Neil McKeganey
Drugs Education Forum
Abbey School

A Handbook for Lunchtime Supervisors and their Managers by Shirley Rose is published by David Fulton Publishers (£15). To order a copy, please visit or call 0845 602 1937.

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