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Leighton Andrews must be wondering how he got off so lightly. As he prepared to face the scrutiny of his fellow Assembly members for the first time as education minister last week, the member for Rhondda could be forgiven for feeling a bit nervous.

After all, his opponents had plenty of ammunition, with the record per-pupil spending gap with England and Estyn chief inspector Bill Maxwell's attack on underachieving schools both making headlines.

But there were no fireworks, no shouting and no witty put-downs.

Only twice during the session did Mr Andrews need to use his "get out of jail free" card - the much-publicised review of education funding - to respond to a question.

Mr Andrews' slick and confident demeanour slipped only once during the hour-long session, when Liberal Democrat education spokeswoman Jenny Randerson repeatedly pushed him on university tuition fees.

Perhaps Mr Andrews' opponents were just testing the waters before going at him guns blazing next time.

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