8th April 2011 at 01:00

Something to chew on

Poor Nic Dakin. It must be a terrible burden to be an MP who, having been a principal, knows what goes on inside colleges.

He asked Michael Gove during last week's EMA debate if college students from poor families would have the right to free meals, as they do at schools. Good question.

But Mr Gove told him that they couldn't have free meals because colleges didn't have canteens. Wait, what? Not only do they have canteens, but the number one pastime in colleges is complaining about the canteens.

Worse, the one general FE college Mr Gove has visited, for the launch of the Wolf review, is Westminster Kingsway. It doesn't just have a canteen, but a fine-dining restaurant, and is one of the country's top catering schools.

Still, Mr Gove is making up for lost time and visiting several other colleges in the coming months, including City and Islington and Harlow. FErret would ask that, for educational purposes, he enters through the kitchens, rather like the famous tracking shot through the nightclub in Goodfellas.

Exclaiming in a New York-Italian accent, "Mikey, how ya doin'!" and folding pound;20 notes into staff members' pockets will be optional.

Holy smoke

The EMA was not the biggest FE story of the week, however. No, that was Smokey the cat.

While about 80 publications covered the EMA debate, a further 400 or so across the globe picked up Smokey's attempt to gain the world record for the loudest purr, as measured with specialist sound equipment by Northampton College staff.

Smokey's meow maxed out at 73 decibels, 16 times louder than the average cat. The world awaits confirmation that Smokey has taken his place in history.

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