Life and style

Should pets ever be kept in classrooms? | Education

Watching duck eggs hatch in a classroom was a “wow” experience that brought the topic to life, says Sarah Holmes, teacher in Derby High School’s primary department. “It was a fantastic opportunity for the children to learn about the life cycle, see the ducklings grow and learn to swim. They also learned to take responsibility for looking after them.” Classrooms across the UK house a wide range of school pets: hamsters, fish, guinea pigs and even tortoises. But though they…

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I was fined for taking my child to Jamaica, but I’m one of the lucky ones | Kehinde Andrews | Opinion

When it came to power in 1997, Labour picked up and ran with the Tories’ individualistic reforms to the school system. Along with school choice, league tables and academies, in came parental responsibility for absences. So I was disappointed, but not surprised, to be given a fixed penalty notice of £60 per parent as a result of taking our six-year-old out of school for two weeks during term time to visit Jamaica. The fact that my son will have the…

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Danielle Steel is a prolific writer, but is that to be envied? | Oliver Burkeman | Money

The novelist Danielle Steel has written 179 books, releasing them at the rate of seven a year – and for all I know, she’ll have released a few more in the days between my writing this column and you reading it. But how? In an interview this month with Glamour magazine, Steel revealed the productivity trick that is central to her success: she works all the time. No, I mean, all the time: for at least 20 hours a day,…

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Let me into your home: artist Lauren McCarthy on becoming Alexa for a day | Art and design

In a gallery in downtown Manhattan, people are huddling around four laptops, taking turns to control the apartments of 14 complete strangers. They watch via live video feeds, and respond whenever the residents ask “Someone” to help them. They switch the lights on and off, boil the kettle, put some music on – whatever they can do to oblige. The project, called Someone, is the latest in a series exploring our ever more complicated relationship with technology. It’s by the…

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Michael Gove’s legacy and his No 10 destiny | Brief letters | Education

Last week we witnessed one of the saddest responses from a primary school child (aged seven) that we’ve ever heard. The class was involved in a philosophy for children session when they were asked: “What is a feeling?” A hand shot up and immediately came the answer: “It’s an abstract noun!” All around nodded in agreement. Gove’s legacy?David NattrassKings Meaburn, Cumbria • Visitors to Mulhouse (Letters, 27 May) should not miss the Musée du Papier Peint (Wallpaper History Museum) in…

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What’s it like to live with a chef? | Food

James Petrie and Úna Palliser James “Jocky” Petrie, group executive development chef for the Gordon Ramsay Group, lives with his wife, musician Úna Palliser, near St Albans. They have two daughters: one four-year-old and one a few months old. Petrie has appeared on MasterChef, Heston’s Fantastical Food and Hell’s Kitchen. Úna has worked with Shakira, the Killers, Moby and Gnarls Barkley. How did you meet?James: It was a classic blind date. Úna: You’d recently had your heart broken. I’d come…

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