The question everyone in the downtrodden world of further education has been asking for months is: whatever happened to that car?
The motor in question is a luxurious metallic red Jaguar XJS with cream leather seats. It was driven by Roger Ward CBE, the former chief executive of the Association of Colleges who resigned after TES revelations of a pound;650-a-month consultancy agreement with a leading finance company.
He left in January with three months' pay and a gagging order - but what about the car and its personalised number plate which he bought at an auction for around pound;4,000?
Roger would regularly drive to work and park the Jag at the nearest meter. Staff affectionately remember the calls from the restaurants asking them to put a few more coins in the meter, or to move the car to avoid penalty charges.
He fought for that car. When he became chief executive it was suggested to him that a Jag was not really an FE-type of car (presumably on the grounds that the closest involvement anyone in colleges was likely to have with such a motor was in servicing it). But Roger believed that the sector should only have the best.
So where is it? Ah, he has it still - he bought it from the AOC with his own money, and paid the going rate.
Meanwhile, its once-ubiquitous owner has gone to ground. Roger has returned to his Hampstead home and some say he intends to live in the basement and let the rest of the house. But one interesting question remains: exactly who at the Department for Education and Employment received a mysterious hand-delivered letter from Roger? And what did it say?
So Tony Blair is to go on the telly in an advertisement extolling the rewards (not financial ones, obviously) of becoming a teacher as the current recruitment campaign takes on a slightly desperate air. And well it might, if the version for would-be maths teachers which appeared in the jobs section of the London Evening Standard last week is anything to go by. The campaign's running slogan did not, shall we say, appear intact. And so returners, students and the like were meant to be enticed by the slogan:
"One forgets a good teacher." Get one of the literacy boffins on to it . .
News arrives from America (where else?) of an innovative new approach to stopping kids from smoking: produce special floor tiles, for use in schools, with an anti-fags message printed prominently upon them.
The Educational Tile measures three feet by two and is robust enough to resist scuffing from hundreds of pairs of trainers a day. According to the press release, the idea came from a mother who "did not want her daughter to become the latest victim of tobacco advertising".
American moppets are particularly good at spotting cigarette advertising - almost a third of three-year-olds and 91 per cent of six-year-olds could recognise Joe Camel as a symbol of smoking in one study. Shockingly, this was even higher than the numbers who knew what Ronald McDonald stood for. Can it be long before the Golden Arches symbol is printed onto Educational Tiles in their millions?
Sometimes, the Diary thinks teachers are taking the mickey. Take this cod advertisement written by a teacher leaving a primary school in Romford:
"Rabbit co-ordinator required urgently I The successful teacher will be required to: 1 Write a rabbit policy and develop a differentiated scheme of work (the ability to differentiate one rabbit from another would be a distinct advantage) 2 Design pacey and punchy lessons for racy and sometimes raunchy rabbits 3 Organise rabbit residential trips for each rabbit (half-termly) 4 Control a budget (ie buy the rabbit food) 7 Have a strong commitment to the development of each rabbit's potential and acknowledge that the rabbit is at the centre of the learning process."
Word reaches Carborundum from the world of further education of a new, proactive (yes!) use of the expression "cascade". If one lecturer can't go to a meeting and the other can, the first one says to the other: "Will you cascade to me?" To our informant, cascading always conjures up those magical fountains of champagne to be found at posh weddings. We fear, however, that what cascades from an FE management meeting is a great deal less bubbly. And this use of the verb sounds, frankly, a little rude.