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<b>Thursday 11 December:</b> Santa isn't real kids, last day for voting and free condoms for 13-year-olds

Published on December 11th 2008.

A TEACHER who told children that Father Christmas wasn't real and that it was parents who left the presents, has been banned from working at a school in Oldham. Blackshaw Lane Primary was inundated with complaints from parents after the supply teacher made the revelation to around 25 seven-year-olds. The youngsters are now having Christmas lessons including writing letters to Santa. A complaint has been lodged with the teacher's agency.

A LAST MINUTE sweep of post boxes today will collect the last of the votes for Manchester's congestion charge referendum. Any ballot paper mailed before the last post will be rushed through in time for the 10pm deadline. Anyone who has still not received a pack, or needs a replacement, can get one from the returning officer in Manchester town hall any time up to 5pm this afternoon, provided they have approved identification - either a passport, photocard driving licence, local bus pass, student card or employers' identity card.

FORMER BBC1 controller Peter Salmon is to be the first Director of BBC North at Salford Quays. Salmon, from Burnley, is married to ex-Coronation Street actress Sarah Lancashire and will take up his new post in the middle of next year. He will be directly responsible for departments including BBC Sport, Radio Five Live and Children's BBC.

CONDOMS are being handed out to children from the age of 13 in all non-faith secondary schools in Manchester. The scheme has been launched in a bid to combat the rising teenage pregnancy rate in Manchester which is 50 per cent higher than the average for England.

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13 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

LouDecember 11th 2008.

AD - Thats speaks volumes about your teenage years.

ADDecember 11th 2008.

DEARY DEARY ME! how blind you are! To blame iresponsible parents and a lack of religion for teenage pregnancy is more than a little victorian. The best answer for our kids is sex education and free condoms. And with young people being the group with the highest rate of STIs then they need help, not religion and preaching about abstenence...

DEARY DEARY ME!December 11th 2008.

if thirteen year olds are having sex then i give up on the education system altogether!they really do need to have a word with these kids...its the lack of religion and responsibility in their parents home that leads to this sort of thing.the child clearly feels they can get away with it and feels no consequences...

so there!December 11th 2008.

agreed !!!

Mr TDecember 11th 2008.

Yeah I get that al, and agree to a point, but 7 is hardly young to realise there's no Santa. All the parents are doing is lying to them and settings themselves up for some ridiculous situation in a years time. Lessons about santa to make them believe just seems a bit contrite

cping500December 11th 2008.

But there should be an apostrophe in math's. It's a mark of omission. You could argue that maths is an anglisation of the American 'math', a short form for mathematics, but I think it is better to argue that 'ematic' has been omitted, so an an apostrophe is required. Like the MEN's Ray King I had a Grammar School education.... more advanced English lessons to sleep though.The ellipsis ... marks the words left of 'in which there were', in case you askThe sex was better too.

Mr TDecember 11th 2008.

Not that I'm against kids believing in Santa, but shouldn't they be doing math's or something a bit more conductive to their future? Also, if they parents/teachers are going to so much effort to re-convinced them santa exists aren't they just setting them up for a massive let down when they find out he actually doesn't?

ADDecember 11th 2008.

DEARY DEARY ME! Its not about where you think it should start or stop, its about reality. The reality is that this is aimed at 13year olds and if you show me a classroom of 13 year old boys I promise you every last one of them would give up a limb to get laid. And you cant stop it so you educate and you provide contraception.

Dave BishopDecember 11th 2008.

13 year olds having sex and I'm not getting any - where is the justice"

alDecember 11th 2008.

Mr T obviously didn't listen during English to know there's no apostrophe in maths! Come on mate, I'm sure they do maths and science etc most of the time, let the kids enjoy Christmas while they still can!

DEARY DEARY ME!December 11th 2008.

AD, _Surely we have to look at the first point at which it became socially acceptable for a boys of thirteen to feel comfortable in having sex. Secondly, and at this point we need to break back through some identification of social changes in society .25 years ago it would be unheard of for a boy to discuss sex in a classroom with his teachers, his parents might be horrified to hear them speak like that. Twenty years on and we have the teachers of schools demonstrating this behaviour. Something has gone seriously wrong with our society and it seems a “put your wellies on”, approach just adds fuel to the ever declining attitude today’s parents (in general) appear to show where the word “responsibility” comes in to play. Religion, which ever one it may be, generally instils a sense of “right and wrong” through “proven to work” practices. These offer a clear understanding with guidance that stops our children from feeling lost, religion offers a built in sense of social acceptance and more importantly accountability for ones own self as a human being. Religions all have one thing in common, the protection of their social values, a rarely digressive stance in order to keep a society alive productive healthy and non-destructive. We now find ourselves placing child development in to the hands of non-religious schools and teachers who have failed to provide a structure and teach, not just their own pupils, but through a lack of religion/proven structure also corrective parenting skills. These parents (once pupils from these schools) who now have their own children are telling them to put condoms on! Where can a thirteen year old boy be that his parents are unaware of what he is doing? And equally as shocking- where is that thirteen year old girl? It seems wrong to me. Even without the religious argument -it still seems to me that this abhorrent approach lacking in real structure and long term planning for our children’s future is heavily misguided by government targets and poor parenting skills lifted to worsened heights by its very own teachings! If there is no consistent way to provide well thought out solid paths for your children, then get your kid in a faith school…if only for a balanced approach to his/her welfare. If one is not prepared to do this perhaps as a parent one should be spending far more time with the child out of school hours until they are old enough to act and demonstrate responsibility themselves, I am a 34 yr old father of two boys one of which is 11 yrs old. I can guarantee that until his sixteenth birthday I will know his every move, because as a parent I accept that this is my responsibility so that he develops well socially and so do my grandchildren. Before the religious argument explodes, I would like to say that I am not a strong follower of the church as I have had my own questions, but was educated in a faith schools and owe my personal debt to that well put together teaching structure.

LouDecember 11th 2008.

When I was at high school 1995-2000 there were 4 pregnancies in my year of 1000 pupils. The year I left an 11 year old girl was taken by the head of year for a pregnancy test. I think it would have been far better for those girls to have had access to contraception in school. There were plently of other pupils who wouldn't have gone out and had sex the second they were handed a condom. If it helps I have no problem with the scheme.

DEARY DEARY ME!December 11th 2008.

where does it stop 8years old?or perhaps a little younger?

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