BRITISH children are missing out on foreign exchange trips, warns an article in The Independent.

They report on a survey of 450 headteachers, carried out by YouGov for the British Council, which showed that only 39 per cent of the country’s secondary schools take part in foreign exchange trips involving a stay with a host family. State schools are half as likely as private schools to offer such schemes.

The main reasons for cancelling the trips were safety concerns, and issues with taking students out of lessons during term time.  Many schools are being made more accountable through inspections and target-setting, and the squeeze on spending has played its part, too.

The drop has also coincided with fewer and fewer pupils studying languages for GCSEs and A-levels.

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Oh dear, big news in the Daily Express that a cinema in Malvern, Worcestershire has replaced its seats because British bottoms are getting wider.

The Grade 11-listed Malvern Cinema has taken out 380 17-inch wide seats because the average cinema-goer no longer fits in them.

A spokesman said: “It’s a fact our hips are wider. The seats were not right for modern society. We haven’t had anyone stuck but it can happen.”

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Former Monty Python star John Cleese has been named as the most influential British comic of all time, reports the Daily Mail.

Cleese, who also appeared in the hit BBC comedy Fawlty Towers, came out top in a poll organised by TV channel Gold, finishing ahead of David Jason and Rowan Atkinson.

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Caught short and want to go to the loo? Then, says the Daily Mirror, you might want to try a comprehensive online map of Britain's public conveniences.

The interactive map has been developed following research which revealed a lack of knowledge and confidence in the location of public toilets.

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It seems that more of us will be wearing novelty jumpers this Christmas. According to the Daily Star, George at Asda says it is selling 160% more than this time last year.

And their survey reveals that four-fifths of Brits plan to wear novelty jumpers on Christmas Day.

A spokesman said: “The online Christmas Jumper Shop is seeing thousands of shoppers logging on every day, and the festive frenzy shows no sign of stopping. There is something for the whole family this year, including the dog.”

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It is a sign of the times that a Daily Express article reveals that a Georgian stately home in Shropshire is up for sale at the same price as a two-bedroom London flat - over four million pounds.

The grade I-listed Hawkstone Hall, near Shrewsbury, which was built around 1700, includes a ballroom, Venetian saloon and numerous reception rooms.

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When Brits want to indulge in a 'treat' meal, they go for 'a good old cooked breakfast' according to a survey outlined in the Daily Mirror.

The study, which was carried out by Hilton Garden Inn, quizzed 2,000 adults and in second place came a roast dinner followed by fish and chips.

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To 'vape' – which means to inhale nicotine vapour from an e-cigarette has been named Word of the Year by the Oxford English Dictionary.

The Daily Express says that use of the word online more than doubled in 2014, reflecting the growing e-cigarette market.

Other contenders for the title included 'slacktivism' – supporting a cause via the internet – and 'contactless' referring to the new card payment system. Previous winners were 'selfie', 'omnishambles' and 'big society'.

Reference list

The Express (www.express.co.uk)

The Independent (www.independent.co.uk)

Daily Mail (www.dailymail.co.uk)

Daily Mirror (www.mirror.co.uk)

Daily Star (www.daily star.co.uk)