Poisoned chalice?

Pity poor David Miliband. One week, he is the rising star of the young Blairites, a minister after less than a year as an MP. The next, he is given the job which is the educational equivalent of making the trains run on time - sorting out exams.

"Senior sources" have told newspapers that his boss, Estelle Morris, was anxious to secure the services of the former Downing Street supremo, so there can be no suggestion that she wishes him ill. Rather, it seems, the Government is wilfully blind to the nature of the problems besetting the exam system.

Mr Miliband is being dispatched to turn his first-class brainpower on the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, the exam boards and any other suspects he can find - outside the Government. A cool and rational look at ways of lightening the exam load is not an option. We wish him well on his mission impossible.

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