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About Mary

THE DIARY wishes formally to apologise on behalf of The TES to Mary Russell, hard-pressed secretary to UCET, the Universities Council for the Education of Teachers.

Mary's been snowed under with work, we learn from the council's annual report - thanks in part to an article on these very pages by UCET's nemesis, Anthea Millett, chief executive at the Teacher Training Agency, who blamed universities for the current recruitment crisis.

You can guess that's not a view shared by most teaching departments who see responsibility lying somewhat closer to the TTA. They were further up in arms over the agency's new funding for in-service training which saw 36 of them lose their grants.

"These two issues generated such heat as to bring about record levels of interaction between UCET and its members," outgoing chairman Ian Kane writes in his final report.

For "UCET" read "Mary Russell" - she and her two assistants are the only people actually in the council's rented offices at the Institute of Education in London. The Diary rings to commiserate and finds Mary trying to do four things at once while leaving the office for a meeting. So, a tough year, Mary? "You could say that again."

Our opinion editor has been duly warned not to print anything controversial again.

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