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Strike hard, play hard

At some colleges, there may have been a bit of tension the day after the strikes. Not at Halesowen College in the West Midlands, however, where staff followed their day at the picket line with trips to destinations such as Alton Towers and Cadbury World.

Principal Keith Bate said the outings, which also included go-karting and circus skills sessions, represented good value at pound;10,000 for 500 people.

"It was a remarkably good staff development for pound;20 a head," Mr Bate told his local paper. "If you have a staff engaged in a positive mindset that has a knock-on effect on the services provided."

Mr Bate also visited the BBC with a group of staff, where they met a producer for talks about how to maintain staff motivation in times of austerity and how the Beeb was handling the cuts. If the BBC man gave any tips, he might have said the press tend to raise an eyebrow at day trips when public services are being cut.

Run for your life!

Good luck to Louise Damen, a PE teacher at Peter Symonds College in Winchester, who has begun a year off to train for the women's marathon at the 2012 Olympics.

The 24-year-old has somehow managed to combine full-time teaching with the kind of training regime that makes you the second fastest British woman in this year's London marathon. She has met the qualifying time for the Olympics but has yet to secure her place in the British team.

Principal Neil Hopkins wished her well. "We would be delighted to welcome her back next year, but also delighted if she were a gold medallist and had other things to do," he said.

Hard to imagine anything better than putting out cones for 16-year-olds to run round - surely she'll be back either way?

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