The week

20th May 2011, 1:00am

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The week

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archive/week-307

When the Tories took control of the Coalition last year, there was an almost audible sigh of relief from the hallowed halls of England's fustier public schools. Surely the wings of the Charity Commission and its New Labour sympathies would now be clipped, the odd gleeful bursar (almost certainly) thought.

But a year on and the Commission - and its call for more money to be given in bursaries to poor pupils - is still going strong, prompting this week's judicial review of the rules. Quangocrat extraordinaire Dame Suzi Leather has hung on as the commission's chief executive, despite widespread predictions that she would be for the chop. What are the odds on the Independent Schools Council's less exotically named legal-eagle Matthew Burgess seeing her off this time?

While battle commenced in the High Court, however, one public school head ensured that legal wranglings did not use up all the column inches assigned to the independent sector. Who could it be? Who else but the sector's arch self-publicist Anthony Seldon. The master of Wellington College announced that he was giving away thousands of the school's library books to make way for iPad breakout spaces and feng-shui pools. Well, he is the man responsible for "happiness lessons".

If that wasn't enough, Dr Seldon also hosted one of his regular conferences on academies. A pioneer in academy sponsorship by independent schools, the indefatigable doctor wants all private schools to follow his lead, making him a firm friend of education secretary Michael Gove. As Mr Gove arrived to speak at the event, he was greeted by a line-up of pupils. Shaking hands down the line, he finally got to Dr Seldon. "And when are you doing your GCSEs?" he asked.

All in all, a pretty good week for Mr Gove, as ex-Blair speechwriter and now deputy head Peter Hyman announced that he was going to set up a free school. This prompted shadow education secretary Andy Burnham to decide that he wasn't completely against them - as long as they serve poor areas - after all. Cigarette paper, anyone?

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