As Labour prepared for its big week the youthful-looking schools minister completed his first half-marathon. The 39-year-old was joined by wife Louise on the Great North Run on Sunday. His time of 2 hours 10 minutes was not bad for a first-timer and he raised more than pound;2,500 for local charities. He failed to beat Graeme Paton, a TES reporter, who clocked 1hr 57, but beat Louise by 15 minutes.
The Association of Teachers and Lecturers attracted queues of delegates to try its range of smoothies. On offer were Blair With A Sore Head (apple, pineapple, lime and spinach), Prescott's Punch (blueberry, blackberry, banana, pineapple) and, in tribute to the portly Education Secretary, Clarke's Calorie Buster (carrot, apple, ginger).
The 19-year-old student and youth rights campaigner was praised by David Miliband for her fringe meeting talk on the realities of comprehensive life. But her finest moment came when Mr Miliband said that she proved modern schools produced highly articulate pupils. Kierra interrupted him to say that she was the exception rather than the rule and refused to be seen as proof that New Labour policies had succeeded.