I feel it's my duty to alert unsuspecting parents to the horror that lurks within the primary school curriculum. More stressful than homework, more irritating than library folders is ... the Project. In theory, it's designed to encourage your child to work independently and creatively away from the classroom. In reality, it's a nightmare enterprise akin to competing for the Nobel Prize for physics, only with more glue. Whatever the assignment, be it to construct a life-size working model of the Cross Harbour Tunnel or something of a more investigative nature, the key point to bear in mind is the phrase, 'parental guidance'. Like the Basic Law, 'parental guidance' can be interpreted in many ways, and I've discovered that merely providing glue, glitter and encouragement from the sidelines is not enough. There are parents who will labour for weeks to produce eye-popping projects that would grace the interior of an architect's office. Either that, or their seven-year-olds possess intellects the size of planets. The average sticky-back plastic brigade doesn't begin to compete. I wouldn't mind, save for the fact my daughter is beginning to suffer from an inferiority complex as even she can tell the difference between a cardboard box and hand-carved balsa wood. Each project becomes progressively more competitive as parents try to come up with bigger and better ideas requiring an astonishing array of materials and methods. Design technique becomes a closely guarded secret, and unseemly riots break out by the school gate as mothers accuse each other of copying. In short, the Project is a pain. But help is at hand. By following these tips, projects can be dealt with simply and effectively. If you have more than one child, it really is worth putting in the effort the first time round. In this way, with careful modification, each project can be recycled for younger siblings. If you achieve only 'A-', don't blame the child. After all, it's your project and there will always be other parents who are more creative and talented than you. And do coach your child thoroughly on your chosen design method, otherwise, if questioned closely by teacher, your child may utter the damning words: 'I don't know, my mum did it'.