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Tale of two swimmers

Congratulations to Olympic gold medallist Rebecca Adlington, who on March 28 graduated from her Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence (AASE).

She dutifully promoted the programme in an interview with her local paper, the unusually named Mansfield Chad, plugging the course's high-quality training and the chance to study at the same time.

"Winning two gold medals in Beijing and breaking a world record was the greatest achievement of my life," said Becky. "And hopefully we'll see many of the graduating and new AASE students competing for Great Britain over the next few years."

Oddly, she had a different tale to tell when speaking to the Sports Journalists' Association four days later: "I'm not at all academic and I remember after my second gold speaking to my mum on the phone and asking, `Does this mean I don't have to go back to college?' That was all that concerned me."

Becky, you're off the Christmas card list.

Chopped and changed

Insult was piled on injury for Mark Haysom, the Learning and Skills Council chief executive, who departed last week not so much under a cloud as drowning in torrential rain and mudslides.

There was some puzzlement about why he had not replied to a letter from West Oxfordshire District Council offering to take some of the pressure out of the capital funding crisis with financial support for Abingdon and Witney College.

It now emerges that it's possible Mr Haysom took umbrage at the letter which, due to a finger-keyboard interface error, referred to him as "Mary Haysom". As our source lamented: "He had been emasculated well before the final coup de grace."

FErret would like to assure readers that, just as Mr Haysom most definitely resigned from his post and did not get the chop, he did not get the other kind of chop either.

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