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That old honours nonsense again

Remember a couple of months ago there was a brief flurry over comments by Des Smith, council member of the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust, that donors to academies could get an honour - and, if they sponsored five, would be "a certainty" for a peerage?

Poor Smith, a successful secondary head who had been tricked into the revelation by an undercover reporter from the Sunday Times, was swiftly hung out to dry.

"Outrageous," said Sir Cyril Taylor, chairman of the trust; "complete and utter nonsense," said the Department for Education and Skills.

Smith himself was forced to back-track and say (with his fingers crossed, we hope), "It is not possible (to acquire an honour by a donation)," before resigning from the council and tiptoeing penitently back to his school.

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