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Hint of an early death

Few things can be more unnerving than hearing premature announcements of your demise, though Mark Twain provided the model answer when he wrote: "The reports of my death were an exaggeration."

So before the Government even begins a proposed review of the quangos around FE, the Learning and Skills Council will not be pleased to learn that one senior figure seems to have been writing them off already.

Notes for a speech by skills minister David Lammy to the Association of Learning Providers' conference, kindly passed on to FErret, said: "The funding body for adult training after 2010 will build on the progress made with the LSC." Since Mr Lammy goes on to mention a Government consultation, and those are always paragons of unprejudiced decision- making, there must be some mistake and they can't really have already decided to replace the FE funding body.

Perhaps staff should take heart from Dave Swarbrick, a folk-rock violinist, who became known for his response to reading about his death in 1999 at the Walsgrave Hospital just a few miles away from LSC headquarters.

He shrugged off the news, saying: "It's not the first time I died in Coventry."

Will they go with the Flo?

Reputation is a mysterious thing. When Bob Geldof speaks to colleges later this month, he is sure to be celebrated for his humanitarian work rather than his pop punk past.

So in the same way, the author of 20 books for children and adults, a TV producer, vice-president of children's charities such as Barnados, former chairwoman of BAFTA and a cultural ambassador for the 2012 Olympic Games is surely entitled to be known for this long list of distinguished achievements.

And this is without taking into account an appearance in the first episode of Bergerac.

Sadly, FErret suspects this will not be the case when the Chancellor of the University of Exeter takes the stage at the Association of Colleges conference.

Instead, the room will be filled with high-powered college professionals thinking: "Let's look through the round window ."

That is the burden of being former Play School presenter, Floella Benjamin. One AoC staffer has already expressed a hope that she will bring Little Ted along.

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