18th May 2012 at 01:00

Keep your friends close but your enemies closer

Congratulations to Dr Deirdre Hughes, who has been appointed chair of the new National Council for Careers, which will advise the government on the development of its National Careers Service.

But can this be the same Deirdre Hughes, former president of the Institute of Career Guidance, who said the government's approach was doomed to failure because it did not fund face-to-face counselling, proven to be the most effective help? Yes! It can!

As Ms Hughes wrote on the TES website last year: "With rising unemployment and increased complexity and competition in education and labour markets, it is wholly unacceptable to leave young people and parents to an online 'do-it-yourself' service."

Perhaps FE minister John Hayes, education's master of the apposite quotation, recalled the famous remark of Lyndon B. Johnson about J. Edgar Hoover: "It's probably better to have him inside the tent pissing out, than outside the tent pissing in."

College goes great guns on teen safety course

FErret never ceases to be amazed at the way colleges manage to cater for every niche learning need. Sometimes, however, he is a little worried, as well as impressed.

Such were his feelings when he saw Sparsholt College in Hampshire advertise one of its courses over Twitter: "Shotgun safety for 14- to 16-year-olds."

For a moment, it was hard to put his paw on the reason for his unease. After all, who could object to classes in "safety"? Even the age range shouldn't cause too much surprise: the supposedly tough UK gun laws in fact allow children of any age to acquire a shotgun licence. (They have to be 15 to shoot unsupervised, though. So that's all right, then.)

What's really troubling is not that it's about shooting, or that it's for young people, but that there is sufficient demand from under-16s to learn about guns to warrant an entire class dedicated to this age group. In conclusion: they're arming themselves; run for the hills.

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