Diamond lives

17th December 2004 at 00:00
Once the pitbull terrier of quangos, the Office for Standards in Education is currently reinventing itself as more of an old English sheepdog. Last week's announcement that it would be working more closely than ever with the inspectors of other children's services only enhanced the new cuddly reputation.

But peaceful co-existence may not last long. Trouble looms in the shape of a football.

David Bell, chief inspector for schools, spent Saturday in his favourite way, cheering on league two team Rushden and Diamonds. No problem there, except that one of the defenders of the opposing team, Mansfield, is the son of David Curtis, the Audit Commission's director of education, culture and social care.

The match commentary on the BBC's football website suggests that the biggest impact that Tom Curtis had on the game was in fouling opposing forwards as his side kept a clean sheet. It did not stop Rushden and Diamonds, currently fourth from bottom, grabbing a valuable away point in a 0-0 draw.

Later Mr Bell admitted it had been "touch and go" for future relations with the commission, but peace has been preserved between the inspectorates ...

until February's return match at least.

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