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Irony is an unappreciated art among some sections of the Tory backbench. However, everyone else may appreciate the piquancy - as teachers' leader Peter Smith delicately puts it - of the Commons discussing the caning amendments to the Education Bill on Armistice Day. It was, after all, a consequence of the last war that the European Convention on Human Rights was signed and sealed, and it was that, rather than any ruling by a domestic court, which led to the outlawing of corporal punishment in our schools.

David Walton, head honcho of Strode College in Somerset, is tearing out his hair after receiving a parcel addressed to The Principle recently.

A common linguistic error, he knows - but not one you generally expect from the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority when sending out its English materials for 14-year-olds.

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