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Diary

You might have thought, with the number of quangos the current Government has brought into being, that it would have got quite good at the nitty-gritty of such creations by now. But practice is not making perfect, as the labyrinthine history of the merger between the school and vocational curriculum outfits demonstrates.

It seems ages ago that plans were laid to merge the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority and the National Council for Vocational Qualifications on the back of Sir Ron Dearing's deliberations on 16-19 education. A consultation (which apparently elicited surprisingly few replies) has come and gone, and all had fallen quiet.

And then a draft press notice appeared for rubberstamping at SCAA. The recipient looked at it, rubbed his eyes, blinked and looked again. Then he took it to chairman Sir Ron, who gave it an aghast glance and phoned the private office of Education and Employment Secretary Gillian Shephard.

And that's the reason you will not yet have heard of the Qualifications and Curriculum Council. All things educational must have an acronym and, as Sir Ron made haste to inform Mrs S, a serious body was unlikely to get the respect it deserved if it was widely known as QUACC.

Carborundum is at a loss to understand how the name got so far without such a basic appraisal (does no one have a sense of humour at the DFEE?) but this etymological blunder appears to have drained the department's limited nomenclatural inventiveness.

Mrs S was, apparently, unwilling to launch her new baby into the world without a name - and ideas have been rather thin on the ground. Carborundum likes the sound of Ofquack. Or, in the current "good news is all" mood of the Government, how about Ofachieve?

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