Turning Bac

Michael Gove has called his replacement for GCSE the ‘English Baccalaureate’. But the Baccalaureate’s origins are at odds with some of Mr Gove’s views on education.

— The philosophy behind the International Baccalaureate (IB) was laid out in a booklet entitled Techniques d’education pour la paix: existent elles? written for Unesco by Marie Therese Maurette, then head of the International School of Geneva. She advocated that children should not be taught history until the age of 12, and then the history of India, China, Japan and the Middle East should be taught simultaneously with European history.

— Geography, she suggested, should be renamed ‘international culture’, in which children would begin by studying maps of the entire world, before being shown a map of their own country.

— All children, she said, should be taught to attain two working languages.

Who pays to stay?

The National Housing Federation revealed that there were 3,960 homeless families living in B&B accommodation between January and March this year. How does this compare with the tourist industry?

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— In 2010 373 million nights were spent by tourists and commercial travellers in the UK.

— Of these, 202 million ‘bednights’ were spent by people on holiday.

— Of these, 3.53 million bednights were defined as being spend as ‘paid guests in farmhouse or B&B accommodation’.

— On an average night, therefore, there are 9,671 paying guests staying in B&Bs.

Source: VisitBritain

Medical complaints

What are the most common complaints made against doctors to the General Medical Council (GMC) in 2011?

Substandard treatment 699
Suitable action not taken 386
Rudeness to patient 379
Lack of further investigation 283
Inappropriate prescribing 280
Failure to diagnose 267

Winter trek

Sir Ranulph Fiennes announced that he plans to be the first person to cross Antarctica on foot during the winter. What is the difference between summer and winter weather in Antarctica?

January Average temp (˚C) July
-0.1 Casey (East coast) -15
-32 Vostok (Eastern interior) -67
-28 Amundsen-Scott (South Pole) -60
+0.8 Faraday (Western Peninsula) -8.6

Source: British Antarctic Survey

This article first appeared in the print edition of The Spectator magazine, dated