34 amazing first lines of famous books.

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ever wonder how to get your book reviewed?

Ever wonder “How to get my book reviewed”?

So you’ve published your book. Its been edited and published, and now you’re trying to figure out how to get to your potential readers. While starting your marketing campaign usually happens well More »

‘People are hungry for real bookstores’: Judy Blume on why US indie booksellers are growing

At 78, the multimillion-selling author has begun a new career, opening her own bookshop and joining a business sector thats flourishing again in the US   She might be a beloved and More »

She Came From Afar – Courtney Lindberg – New Book

5 Stars From San Francisco Book Review – https://sanfranciscobookreview.com/product/she-came-from-afar/

Each family is different, and this is especially true for families who have adopted children. Not only do they have to deal with all the typical struggles of raising a child (sometimes from infancy), but they also need to face questions from the people around them and from their own children. It is a trial, but a common enough one that there are many adoption stories, several of which are beautiful and filled with the grace of parents who manage to pass through the trials and keep their heads held high. She Came From Afar is one such story.

The book begins with the author dreaming that she holds a dark-skinned baby as a voice tells her that this child is hers. The author wakes with the certainty that she will adopt a child from Africa, though her husband is less certain. After all, they already have two children, Seamus and Nolan, and when their third child is born, they learn that she has holes in her heart that require surgery. Still, the author is gripped by the idea that she is meant to adopt a child from Africa, and although her husband disagrees, she does research into various countries that she could adopt from. When her husband admits that he is ready to adopt, the author pushes forward with her plan.

Not everything goes perfectly, as one might expect. The author’s dream featured a baby boy named Ndume, but the child who comes to her home is a little girl whom she calls Eden. When the author’s husband goes to Ethiopia to meet Eden, he finds that she is malnourished and ill, and just before he is able to return home, he falls ill as well. When he does bring Eden home, the family faces all the uninformed questions and remarks any white family adopting an African child would. Through all that, and through the trials of raising four children who are close in age, the family carries on, displaying a grace that would make anyone proud.

She Came From Afar is a short, beautiful book that will appeal to anyone who has looked after children. I was deeply moved by the author’s story, and though I am not a parent myself, I’ve helped look after some younger kids, and I found myself smiling knowingly at the little descriptions the author gave of how her children interacted with each other. I’m glad I read this book, and I would happily read it again.

Amazon Link – http://amzn.to/2rP6mWe

The Uncanny Valley by S.W. Campbell – New Book

Story Summary:

We all know a Paul. A person who seems to see stuff that isn’t there. The type the polite call quirky and the blunt call nuts. Conspiracies? He’s got a few. He’s got his finger on how the world really works. He knows what kind of shit is coming down the pipe. Flee across the West Texas desert to Mexico? Makes sense to him. Feel like you’re being watched? You bet your ass someone is watching. Best turn off your cell phone. Troubles? Of course, that’s just part of life. Doubts? No time for doubts. Shit is getting real. Get in, buckle up, crack open a beer. The only real question is, how far down the rabbit hole are you willing to follow? Paul is an every man gone off the rails. Fearing the tightening noose of government surveillance he sets out with his family on a twisting psychological jaunt to break free of society’s restrictions, no matter what the cost. Hero and villain. Culprit and victim. Paul is stuck in a world he wants no part of. Sacrifices are made and connections are severed. As his world collapses around him, Paul perseveres in his quest, unsure about his way forward, but increasingly feeling that there is no way for him to turn back.

5 Stars Seattle Book Review https://seattlebookreview.com/product/the-uncanny-valley/

[The Uncanny Valley] is far more complex than it appears at first. It’s a magnificent, gripping tale, one which you will find yourself hard-pressed to put down.”

Amazon Link – http://amzn.to/2rfCeGx

Tim Pigott-Smith obituary

Stage and screen actor best known for his role in the TV series The Jewel in the Crown

The only unexpected thing about the wonderful actor Tim Pigott-Smith, who has died aged 70, was that he never played Iago or, indeed, Richard III. Having marked out a special line in sadistic villainy as Ronald Merrick in his career-defining, Bafta award-winning performance in The Jewel in the Crown (1984), Granada TVs adaptation for ITV of Paul Scotts Raj Quartet novels, he built a portfolio of characters both good and bad who were invariably presented with layers of technical accomplishment and emotional complexity.

Tim Pigott-Smith in the title role of Mike Bartletts King Charles III at the Almeida theatre in 2014. Photograph: Tristram Kenton for the Guardian

He emerged as a genuine leading actor in Shakespeare, contemporary plays by Michael Frayn in Frayns Benefactors (1984) he was a malicious, Iago-like journalist undermining a neighbouring college chums ambitions as an architect and Stephen Poliakoff, American classics by Eugene ONeill and Edward Albee, and as a go-to screen embodiment of high-ranking police officers and politicians, usually served with a twist of lemon and a side order of menace and sarcasm.

He played a highly respectable King Lear at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in 2011, but that performance was eclipsed, three years later, by his subtle, affecting and principled turn in the title role of Mike Bartletts King Charles III (soon to be seen in a television version) at the Almeida, in the West End and on Broadway, for which he received nominations in both the Olivier and Tony awards. The play, written in Shakespearean iambics, was set in a futuristic limbo, before the coronation, when Charles refuses to grant his royal assent to a Labour prime ministers press regulation bill.

The interregnum cliffhanger quality to the show was ideal for Pigott-Smiths ability to simultaneously project the spine and the jelly of a character, and he brilliantly suggested an accurate portrait of the future king without cheapening his portrayal of him. Although not primarily a physical actor, like Laurence Olivier, he was aware of his attributes, once saying that the camera does something to my eyes, particularly on my left side in profile, something to do with the eye being quite low and being able to see some white underneath the pupil. It was this physical accident, not necessarily any skill, he modestly maintained, which gave him a menacing look on film and television, as if I am thinking more than one thing.

Born in Rugby, Tim was the only child of Harry Pigott-Smith, a journalist, and his wife Margaret (nee Goodman), a keen amateur actor, and was educated at Wyggeston boys school in Leicester and when his father was appointed to the editorship of the Herald in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1962 King Edward VI grammar school, where Shakespeare was a pupil. Attending the Royal Shakespeare theatre, he was transfixed by John Barton and Peter Halls Wars of the Roses production, and the actors: Peggy Ashcroft, with whom he would one day appear in The Jewel in the Crown, Ian Holm and David Warner. He took a parttime job in the RSCs paint shop.

At Bristol University he gained a degree in English, French and drama (1967), and at the Bristol Old Vic theatre school he graduated from the training course (1969) alongside Jeremy Irons and Christopher Biggins as acting stage managers in the Bristol Old Vic company. He joined the Prospect touring company as Balthazar in Much Ado with John Neville and Sylvia Syms and then as the Player King and, later, Laertes to Ian McKellens febrile Hamlet. Back with the RSC he played Posthumus in Bartons fine 1974 production of Cymbeline and Dr Watson in William Gillettes Sherlock Holmes, opposite John Woods definitive detective, at the Aldwych and on Broadway. He further established himself in repertory at Birmingham, Cambridge and Nottingham.

Tim Pigott-Smith as the avuncular businessman Ken Lay in Lucy Prebbles Enron at the Minerva theatre, Chichester, in 2009. Photograph: Tristram Kenton for the Guardian

He was busy in television from 1970, appearing in two Doctor Who sagas, The Claws of Axos (1971) and The Masque of Mandragora (1976), as well as in the first of the BBCs adaptations of Elizabeth Gaskells North and South (1975, as Frederick Hale; in the second, in 2004, he played Hales father, Richard). His first films were Jack Golds Aces High (1976), adapted by Howard Barker from RC Sherriffs Journeys End, and Tony Richardsons Joseph Andrews (1977). His first Shakespeare leads were in the BBCs Shakespeare series Angelo in Measure for Measure and Hotspur in Henry IV Part One (both 1979).

A long association with Hall began at the National Theatre in 1987, when he played a coruscating half-hour interrogation scene with Maggie Smith in Halls production of Coming in to Land by Poliakoff; he was a Dostoeyvskyan immigration officer, Smith a desperate, and despairing, Polish immigrant. In Halls farewell season of Shakespeares late romances in 1988, he led the company alongside Michael Bryant and Eileen Atkins, playing a clenched and possessed Leontes in The Winters Tale; an Italianate, jesting Iachimo in Cymbeline; and a gloriously drunken Trinculo in The Tempest (he played Prospero for Adrian Noble at the Theatre Royal, Bath, in 2012).

The Falstaff on television when he played Hotspur was Anthony Quayle, and he succeeded this great actor, whom he much admired as director of the touring Compass Theatre in 1989, playing Brutus in Julius Caesar and Salieri in Peter Shaffers Amadeus. When the Arts Council cut funding to Compass, he extended his rogues gallery with a sulphurous Rochester in Fay Weldons adaptation of Jane Eyre, on tour and at the Playhouse, in a phantasmagorical production by Helena Kaut-Howson, with Alexandra Mathie as Jane (1993); and, back at the NT, as a magnificent, treacherous Leicester in Howard Davies remarkable revival of Schillers Mary Stuart (1996) with Isabelle Huppert as a sensual Mary and Anna Massey a bitterly prim Elizabeth.

In that same National season, he teamed with Simon Callow (as Face) and Josie Lawrence (as Doll Common) in a co-production by Bill Alexander for the Birmingham Rep of Ben Jonsons trickstering, two-faced masterpiece The Alchemist; he was a comically pious Subtle in sackcloth and sandals. He pulled himself together as a wryly observant Larry Slade in one of the landmark productions of the past 20 years: ONeills The Iceman Cometh at the Almeida in 1998, transferring to the Old Vic, and to Broadway, with Kevin Spacey as the salesman Hickey revisiting the last chance saloon where Pigott-Smith propped up the bar with Rupert Graves, Mark Strong and Clarke Peters in Davies great production.

He and Davies combined again, with Helen Mirren and Eve Best, in a monumental NT revival (designed by Bob Crowley) of ONeills epic Mourning Becomes Electra in 2003. Pigott-Smith recycled his ersatz Agamemnon role of the returning civil war hero, Ezra Mannon, as the real Agamemnon, fiercely sarcastic while measuring a dollop of decency against weasel expediency, in Euripides Hecuba at the Donmar Warehouse in 2004. In complete contrast, his controlled but hilarious Bishop of Lax in Douglas Hodges 2006 revival of Philip Kings See How They Run at the Duchess suggested he had done far too little outright comedy in his career.

Tim Pigott-Smith as King Lear at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in 2011. Photograph: Tristram Kenton for the Guardian

Television roles after The Jewel in the Crown included the titular chief constable, John Stafford, in The Chief (1990-93) and the much sleazier chief inspector Frank Vickers in The Vice (2001-03). On film, he showed up in The Remains of the Day (1993); Paul Greengrasss Bloody Sunday (2002), a harrowing documentary reconstruction of the protest and massacre in Derry in 1972; as Pegasus, head of MI7, in Rowan Atkinsons Johnny English (2003) and the foreign secretary in the Bond movie Quantum of Solace (2008).

In the last decade of his life he achieved an amazing roster of stage performances, including a superb Henry Higgins, directed by Hall, in Pygmalion (2008); the avuncular, golf-loving entrepreneur Ken Lay in Lucy Prebbles extraordinary Enron (2009), a play that proved there was no business like big business; the placatory Tobias, opposite Penelope Wilton, in Albees A Delicate Balance at the Almeida in 2011; and the humiliated George, opposite his Hecuba, Clare Higgins, in Whos Afraid of Virginia Woolf, at Bath.

At the start of this year he was appointed OBE. His last television appearance came as Mr Sniggs, the junior dean of Scone College, in Evelyn Waughs Decline and Fall, starring Jack Whitehall. He had been due to open as Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman in Northampton prior to a long tour.

Pigott-Smith was a keen sportsman, loved the countryside and wrote four short books, three of them for children.

In 1972 he married the actor Pamela Miles. She survives him, along with their son, Tom, a violinist, and two grandchildren, Imogen and Gabriel.

Timothy Peter Pigott-Smith, actor, born 13 May 1946; died 7 April 2017

  • This article was amended on 10 April 2017. Tim Pigott-Smiths early performance as Balthazar in Much Ado About Nothing was with the Prospect touring company rather than with the Bristol Old Vic.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2017/apr/09/tim-pigott-smith-obituary

Leadership Reflections by Dr. Lisa Aldisert – Self Help Book

Book Summary

Do you think of yourself as a leader? Leadership starts with a mindset, not a title. Leaders influence. They share keen insight. They command respect without demanding it. Leaders inspire achievement of successful outcomes, whether leading people, projects, or processes. You’ll relate to the real-world vignettes in this book as they represent typical challenges leaders face as they navigate the wilds of the workplace. This book is a collection of short essays on leadership and relationship management written by Dr. Lisa M. Aldisert, a seasoned management consultant. Not only has she advised hundreds of clients on these issues, but she has faced these situations directly in her businesses. This book will provide you with anecdotes and examples that you can apply on the job every day.

Amazon link – http://amzn.to/2ryP7uN

Leadership Reflections: 52 Leadership Practices in the Age of Worry

Gringo By Dan “Tito” Davis

Story Summary:

Dan “Tito” Davis comes from a town in South Dakota that’s so small everyone knows their neighbor’s cat’s name. But once he got out, he made some noise. While at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, he started manufacturing White Crosses, aka speed, and soon had the Banditos Motorcycle Club distributing ten million pills a week. After serving a nickel, he got into the weed game, but just when he got going, he was set up by a childhood friend. Facing thirty years, Davis slipped into Mexico, not knowing a word of Spanish, which began a thirteen-year odyssey that led him to an underground hideout for a MedellIn cartel, through the jungles of the Darien Gap, the middle of Mumbai’s madness, and much more.

Tito has lived a fascinating life, one well worth reading about, and I was enthralled by every page. Tito’s ambition and know-how lead him far past his humble Midwestern beginnings, and his rise and fall made a tale well worth reading, one which I would recommend to anyone.

5 Stars San Francisco Book Review – http://sanfranciscobookreview.com/product/gringo/

Harold Hardscrabble by G.D. Dess

Harold Hardscrabble, by G. D. Dess, captures the feelings of frustration and helplessness that many of us experience in our daily lives. These sentiments are embodied in the contemplative, quietly charming protagonist, Harold, who, like Walter Mitty, lives largely in his own world of thoughts and dreams. We follow Harold’s transformation from a dreamer to a man of action as he struggles to discover how to live a meaningful life in a materialistic world.

Harold copes admirably with the many disasters and injustices that assail him on his life’s journey; but when he is finally overcome by circumstances beyond his control, he is forced to take matters into his own hands to attain justice for the all the misfortunes he has been made to suffer. This is a story of a quest for self-realization that unfolds slowly as it builds to its explosive climax.

Amazon Link – http://amzn.to/2rfIayX

5 Star Review Manhattan Book Review – https://manhattanbookreview.com/product/harold-hardscrabble/

Harold Hardscrabble met the love of his life in college. Her name is Carol, the attraction, of a physical and intellectual nature, is immediate. Harold sees Carol as having a controlling personality, but he also sees an endearing quality to her vulnerability. They leave college and get married, moving to New York City and to cramped surroundings in an apartment. Harold is an artist within, who is looking for an outlet to unleash the art in his soul, but practicality and his bride push him to the corporate world. Harold works a variety of temp jobs, but his brilliant mind leads to offers of a full time job in a analytical position. Harold still feels insecure but pushes on with the prodding of Carol. The birth of their two children, Jake and Sarah, makes a move to the suburbs an eventuality. Harold thinks back to his time growing up, his propensity to daydream being the fondest of memories. As his children grow, Harold’s mind turns to the pitfalls of commercialism, materialism, and the lack of reality that haunts his existence. He attempts to explain his feelings to Carol but is met with indifference. His thoughts start to take a toll on his home and career. His life takes a tilt toward the mortal when he is diagnosed with prostate cancer. His battle and its unpleasant effects take a backseat to Carol’s departure. Harold emerges weakened from the cancer, drinking more and looking to de-clutter his existence. Will he ever find happiness? Will he ever overcome his own questions and doubts?

Harold Hardscrabble is an excellent, philosophical tale that explores the life of a brilliant, troubled man and his ups and downs. The reader can identify with many of the quandaries that tax the mind of Harold. The existential crises that haunt the titular character make him sympathetic and worth rooting for. The story bobs and weaves but never fails to hold the attention of the reader. A fine read.

The Hunter: Awakening by Nicholas Arriaza

Story Summary:
The Hunter: Awakening, is the first of a series of novels that will explore the nature of good and evil and the question of redemption: Is it available to those who have perpetrated great evil? Not long after the theft of a leather-bound book from a hidden hillside tomb in LA, a young hiker inadvertently awakens something fearsome that has been laid to rest some two hundred years ago. Soon after an emaciated, amnesiac man falls from a cliffside trail into the backyard of young, pregnant, neurosurgeon Melisa Castro. The young doctor feels compelled to help the “John Doe” regain his memory. Meanwhile a vampire who no longer has a hunger for blood comes seeking to rectify the awakening only to find himself in the middle of a power struggle within the family Melisa’s fiancé Chris leads. Chris has yet to tell Melisa of his true nature and the fact, she is carrying a werewolf’s baby.

5 Stars San Francisco Book Review

In The Hunter: Awakening, we are introduced to Melisa Castro, a doctor who helps a man who falls onto her property and seems to have amnesia. As she is four months pregnant, she tries to be careful around him, but she finds herself needing to help this mysterious man. Even stranger, when she touches him, she sees visions of things that happened to him in the past, which he can’t even remember. Melisa is slowly drawn into a world of vampires and werewolves and those that hunt them. She discovers that the battle between the Hunter and his prey has been going on for centuries. Melisa begins to realize that the child she carries might not be normal at all and that she might possess some supernatural powers as well. Because of the child she’s carrying, she is in danger from the Hunter. But things aren’t always black and white. The Hunter has been awakened, but he wasn’t supposed to be, and now no one knows how the story will end.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to the next in the series. The plot was great. Who doesn’t love a story about werewolves and vampires? If you don’t, you should. Even though Melisa was the main character, I actually liked Aaron, her future brother-in-law, and Ranald the best. Ranald, the sarcastic vampire, was an enjoyable character to read about. I hope that if I ever become one of the undead, I can still keep it light like he does. Aaron makes his brother, Chris, who is the father of Melisa’s child, just look bad. He’s willing to go as far as needed to protect her and her unborn child.


Amazon Link – http://amzn.to/2poA9Tc

Author Website: https://www.thehuntersaga.com/

Author Bio
Nicholas Arriaza has worked as a pizza maker, an electrician, a carpenter, a luxury home electronics salesman, and an owner operator of a successful luxury custom home theater design company. He is now a stay at home dad and fantasy writer. He lives with his wife, their infant son, and Pit-Bull Basil in Los Angeles, CA. THE HUNTER: AWAKENING is his first published novel. He is currently working on the second novel of the saga.

The hospital errors leaving new parents devastated – BBC News

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Media caption‘Our baby son died due to NHS error’

More than 1,400 mistakes are being recorded by maternity staff in hospitals in England each week on average. For some families, those errors can have life-changing consequences.

“Every single day we have to live with the fact that we’re a victim of the NHS,” Adam Asquith tells the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme.

Adam and his fiancee, Sarah Ellis, were expecting their first child in 2014.

“When I first fell pregnant, everything was amazing. We were over the Moon,” Sarah says.

When she went into labour, the pair headed to Calderdale Royal Hospital, in Halifax.

But once there, Sarah was left waiting on a busy maternity ward – even though she told staff she was concerned she couldn’t feel her baby moving.


“We were left for six hours, we didn’t really know anything, they just told us and reassured us that everything was OK,” she says.

Gino was finally delivered by Caesarean section.

But Sarah and Adam’s joy quickly turned to despair.

Image caption Sarah and Adam can’t understand why so many mistakes were made

“One of the doctors pulled me to one side and just said, ‘He’s not in a good condition, he was born in a really bad condition, and if he does pull through, he’s going to be very badly brain damaged,'” Adam says.

“I was in the corridor with Sarah’s mum and dad and I just said, ‘How am I going to tell Sarah that he’s not all right?'”

Gino was placed on a life-support machine. But just days later, Sarah and Adam were advised to withdraw treatment.

“The words used were that he was ‘unrecoverable’ and that was when we knew he wasn’t going to get any better,” she says. “We had to make a joint decision that we would turn the machines off.”

‘Why us?’

The inquest later showed Sarah should have had an emergency Caesarean section hours before she finally did.

A report found medical staff had failed to act on warning signs and Gino had been severely starved of oxygen.

The coroner said the hospital had missed four opportunities to save Gino’s life.

“Everyone makes mistakes – I do, we all do – but to see so many people make so many different mistakes within six hours is just shocking,” Sarah says.

“People who you put your trust in, your life is in their hands, and Gino’s life was in their hands and they didn’t take care of him.”

Sarah and Adam decided to take legal action against the hospital trust and were paid compensation.

“Every single day I think, ‘Why? Why us?” Adam says.

Image caption Lucas was diagnosed with cerebral palsy after being born

An investigation by the Victoria Derbyshire programme has found an average of more than 1,400 mistakes a week were recorded in England’s NHS maternity units between 2013 and 2016.

Figures from 81 NHS trusts out of the 132 in England – obtained through a Freedom of Information request – showed 305,019 adverse incidents had been recorded in the four-year period.

These incidents are when unexpected harm, injury or death has occurred, and include anything from records being lost to a mother or baby dying.

Figures from 39 trusts, for the same four-year period, showed 259 deaths of mothers or babies had been recorded as avoidable or unexpected.

In April, the BBC revealed that England’s Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt had ordered an investigation into a number of deaths and other maternity errors at Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Hospital Trust.

Seven baby deaths, later deemed as avoidable, took place at the trust between September 2014 and May 2016.

Angry for life

Jade Penny, 26, is currently suing her local hospital trust, after her eldest son was left with cerebral palsy.

Lucas, now seven, was born three months prematurely, cannot walk or talk and is partially blind and deaf.

Jade’s lawyers argue that Lucas’s brain damage is due to a lack of oxygen when he had his incubation tube replaced. The NHS trust is defending the claim

“Imagine laying down and not being able to breathe, but you can’t tell someone,” Jade says.

“It must be the most horrible thing to go through ever, and he couldn’t tell anyone.

“I think that’s what upsets me the most.

“He’s still alive, but he doesn’t have the quality of life that other kids have.

“For the rest of my life, I’m going to be angry. And I’ll never ever forgive anyone for that.”

The NHS trust is defending the claim.

The Department of Health said it could not respond to the figures regarding maternity ward mistakes due to the pre-election purdah period.

But it said plans were in place to halve rates of stillbirths, neonatal deaths, maternal deaths and brain injuries in babies by 2030.

As part of that, the government has launched a new 8m maternity safety training scheme.

Writing in October, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the government had invested almost 40m since 2010 to make “tangible physical improvements” to maternity units.

He said: “Dedicated and hardworking NHS staff do an incredible job – 24 hours a day, every day of the year – of bringing new babies into the world and achieving great outcomes for women, newborns and their families.”

The Royal College of Midwives says safety is being compromised by the pressure maternity services are under.

Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the college, said: “The simple truth is we do not have enough midwives working in them right now, we are also seeing more leaving the profession because of stress and a slight reduction in the number of student midwives training.

“We need to reduce the number of mistakes to an absolute minimum,” she added. “We can’t deliver the safest possible care if we don’t have enough midwives and doctors working here.”

Watch the Victoria Derbyshire programme on weekdays between 09:00 and 11:00 on BBC Two and the BBC News channel.

Related Topics

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-39794204

Reform ‘high stakes’ primary tests, MPs urge – BBC News

Image copyright iStock
Image caption High stakes tests at 11, put pupils and teachers under unnecessary stress, says the MPs’ report

Children’s education in England is being skewed by the use of high-stakes tests taken by 11-year-olds as a school league table measure, say MPs.

Annual test results should be replaced in the tables by a three-year rolling average to “lower the stakes”, says the Commons Education Select Committee.

The current system has led to a narrow curriculum and “unnecessary stress” on pupils and teachers, argues the report.

Last year, new tougher tests for 11-year-olds saw passes drop sharply.

Ministers maintain that parents have a right to expect testing in schools to show whether their children are gaining the right skills in maths and literacy.

But the committee says the close link between the tests at 11 and school accountability can “lead to a narrowing of the curriculum and ‘teaching to the test’, as well as affecting teacher and pupil well-being”.

It wants the current system scrapped, with three-year rolling averages for schools published instead of the results of individual year groups.

‘Held to account’

The report also calls for greater emphasis in Ofsted inspections on a broad and balanced curriculum.

Committee chairman Neil Carmichael said too much emphasis on test results had led to too much “focus on English and maths at the expense of other subjects like science, humanities and the arts”.

“It is right that schools are held to account for their performance but the government should act to lower the stakes and help teachers to deliver a broad, balanced and fulfilling curriculum for primary school children.”

The report says poor implementation of the new system last year, with “guidance delayed and test papers leaked online”, caused significant disruption in schools.

The MPs want ministers to reconsider the new writing assessment which emphasises “technical aspects like grammar and spelling, over creativity and composition”.

“The balance of evidence we received did not support the proposition that focusing on specific grammatical techniques improved the overall quality of writing.”

They also want spelling, punctuation and grammar tests for 11-year-olds to become non-statutory.

Ministers recently announced proposals to scrap tests for seven-year-olds, following years of pressure from teachers, parents and educationalists.

The Department for Education is consulting on a new assessment for pupils when they first start school – but the report urges caution when introducing a “baseline” measure.

“It should be designed as a diagnostic tool to help teachers identify pupils’ needs and must avoid shifting negative consequences of high-stakes accountability to early years,” they warn.

Image caption Primary pupils need a broad, balanced and fulfulling curriculum, say the MPs

A Department for Education spokeswoman said the government would consider the report carefully and respond in due course.

Ofsted Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman said inspectors already looked for a broad curriculum in every primary school, adding that she had recently announced new research into “how the accountability system, including Ofsted, can encourage the development of a rich curriculum”.

Russell Hobby, National Association of Head Teachers General Secretary, called last year’s tests “a mess of chaos and confusion”.

“Add into this the high-stakes nature of the system for school leaders, and you get a toxic mix.”

Mr Hobby said the union had contributed to the government’s proposals “to begin creating a primary assessment system that works”.

“This report helpfully sets the agenda for the next stage of this debate,” he added.

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-39745884

Rihanna And Lupita Nyong’o Say They’ll Make The Movie Twitter Made Up

Thank you, Twitter.

Over the weekend, a 2014 photo of Rihanna and Lupita Nyongo sitting next to each other at Paris Fashion Week went viral after user @blaquepink shared it with the caption, a picture for the history books.

Twitter user @1800SADGALresponded and laid the groundwork for the movie you never knew you absolutely needed in life.

From there, the idea spiraled, with more Twitter users adding to the plot, Hollywood insiders chiming in, and a vote of confidence from the stars themselves.

After Rihanna responded, folks on Twitter continued to tweet at Ava DuVernay, asking the award-winning director to get involved.

So maybe this is actually happening?!

Oh, please.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/rihanna-lupita-nyongo-fake-twitter-movie_us_58fd57d9e4b06b9cb917c6e6

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