It's official - British schoolchildren are the worst spellers in Europe.

Mis-spellings Can you spell it?

A simple test administered to Year 9 pupils in schools across the country revealed the alarming truth that over three-quarters of them had difficulty spelling very simple words such as 'ball' and 'house', and particularly 'cat'.

And two of the thousand children tested failed to get any of the letters right at all!

'Klarct'

Some of the incorrect spellings included 'Kat', 'Catt', 'Klarct', 'cog', 'dogg', and 'cunt' - a stark contrast to the last time the same test was carried out in 1982 when more than 99% of 11 and 12 year olds spelt the word correctly.

Indeed the only pupil to deviate from the traditional spelling was actually of exceptionally high intellect, and who submitted the word 'khat', referring to the informal name of the Catha edulis plant.

But there are also more sinister fears that our lack of spelling prowess could fall children easy prey to the classroom paedophile.

Encouragement

'It's a very real danger' child therapist Patricia Warner told us, 'an innocent child with very poor literation could might try to write a sentence saying 'the gate is open', but instead write 'I want to suck your cock'. And teachers would need little encouragement to take advantage.'

American Americans: Can't Spell properly

But bestselling author Martina Cole believes that our children's 'defiant refusal to be bound by conventional laws of spelling, grammar and linguine' is actually a healthy sign.

'In the real world, things are becoming more global, more Americanized', she told us, 'and as Americans can't spell properly anyway, our illegitimate children will actually have an advantage over their more numerate counterparts in that they'll probably be spelling words like 'center' and 'plow' wrongly already.'

In the short term, Education secretary Estelle Morris has announced plans to invest an additional 50 million, to be spent on re-spelling words, to fit in with the children's answers, and then educating the adult population about the new spellings.