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Harmony on hold;Diary

SO MUCH for the Diary's Christmas prediction of certain harmony at the Blairs' next parents evening at the London Oratory.

Hawkish head John McIntosh may be four-square behind the bombing of Iraq, but as my colleagues report elsewhere, he takes a pretty dim view of unauthorised term-time absence.

But Mr McIntosh in turn has been taken to task - by no less a figure than the new chair of the education select committee, Malcolm Wicks, who says he was "frankly concerned" to hear a head talking publicly about two of his pupils.

"Political capital is trying to be made out of some minister's holidays. We should not use any children as political footballs," he tutted on Radio Four's Today programme.

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