14th January 2011 at 00:00

Sparkes fly at the AoC

The Association of Colleges might have thought it had put its days of dissent and grumbling in the ranks behind it since ex-RAF man Martin Doel took charge. But an article in the Guardian suggests that there are still a few partisans fighting in the hillsides.

"The sector has yet to develop a single, united voice," sniped college marketing and PR consultant Ruth Sparkes. "There is the Association of Colleges, which in the main speaks for itself. The result is a cacophony of different voices."

(Speaking of speaking for oneself, the article is not the first time Ms Sparkes has been allowed to plug Cornwall College in the Graun without readers being told she works for it.)

The AoC is now waiting to see if its clenched-teeth response, in which it points out that it represents 97 per cent of colleges and was set up by them in the first place, gets published. FErret can only hope that this turns into an unseemly public row: nothing says "unity" like one of those.

Paris of the North

The Manchester College's latest development, a refurbishment of an Edwardian bath house in Harpurhey for its sixth-form college, has become the centre of an unlikely attempt to twin the deprived suburb with Paris.

As the Daily Mail deadpans, "The link may not be obvious to the casual observer."

But the building's converted chimney has a blue light that can be seen for miles around (a bit like the Eiffel Tower!), say local councillors, who hope that it will become a tourist attraction. They have dubbed it the H'Eiffel Tower and have written to the mayor of Paris proposing the twinning arrangement. The movie with Danny DeVito and Arnold Schwarzenegger springs to mind.

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