Thursday, April 5, 2007


Commercials 'killing childhood'
Burger and chips
Pester power can lead to poor diets, the NUT says
Teachers are warning that children are growing up too quickly because of pressure from advertising and commerce.

*They say advertising which targets children should be more tightly controlled because it encourages poor diets and general ill-health.*

The call comes from the annual conference of the National Union of Teachers in Harrogate, where delegates will also discuss education reforms.

Controls on advertising junk food to children came into force this week.

But dedicated children's channels are allowed to phase in the restrictions, which affect programmes aimed at four to nine year olds.

'Initiative overload'

They need only to comply fully with the ban on advertising high fat, salt or sugar foods by 1 January 2009.

From 1 January 2008 the restrictions will be extended to TV shows aimed at children up to 15, as well as adult programmes watched by a large number of children.

The teachers complain the adverts encourage children to use "pester power" on their parents and say that children are growing up too fast because of commercial pressures.

Other issues they will highlight during the annual conference are imminent reforms in the education system, including new diplomas for 14 to 19 year olds and changes to the national curriculum.

Delegates will say they are suffering from "initiative overload", especially with regard to 14 to 19 education.

Specialised, work-related diplomas are due to be introduced into schools and colleges from next year.

Teachers feel they have not been sufficiently consulted about the introduction of these new qualifications.

The conference, which runs until Tuesday, is also expected to launch a charter for the achievement of Afro-Caribbean boys.