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Gutted from Richmond

Commiserations to students at Richmond upon Thames College in south-west London, who suffered a nightmare when a fire broke out, gutting a workshop.

The 3am blaze destroyed up to a year's work, as well as personal items. Archie Ablitt, 17, told his local paper: "All our work was in there. We have spent all year working on it. I'm devastated."

Of course, it's good news for any student who hadn't finished their project and was looking for something more credible than "the dog ate my homework". FErret himself recalls as a youngster praying for a natural disaster at 3am before his GCSE design and technology project was due in.

There's no suggestion that this applies to this hard-working bunch though, and police say they're not treating the incident as arson. Let's hope the awarding bodies are also understanding: the only thing worse than doing your coursework is having to do it twice.

Go compare

While some teenagers are losing free transport to and from their colleges, hopefully few will face a bill as big as Pendleton College student Jake Redshaw.

The 17-year-old from Salford, who is studying IT, bought a six-year-old Vauxhall Corsa for pound;3,000. He was then offered insurance cover from the AA for a staggering pound;32,819.

FErret knows that teenage boys and cars are a dangerous combination, but that seems ridiculous. Luckily, the AA agrees. The company explained that one of its insurers should have declined cover, but instead offered an unfeasible nominal price to discourage applicants.

All the same, the lowest price offered was still pound;5,700 a year. That would be quite a lot of education maintenance allowance, if anyone was actually going to get education maintenance allowance ever again.

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