25th May 2012 at 01:00

Above and beyond the call of professional duty

Thank God for the professional practice committee of the Institute for Learning (IfL).

As a result of the government-commissioned review of FE professionalism, the committee no longer has the power to force undesirables out of college classrooms. But even though it appears to be limping on through little more than sheer bloody-mindedness, it is in no mood to shirk its responsibilities to Queen and country.

Later this month it will hear the case of Stephen Dowds, a former student services manager at City of Wolverhampton College. Dowds is accused of breaching the IfL's code of professional practice by committing a criminal offence and - allegedly - failing to display the expected level of professional integrity.

FErret is loath to prejudge the committee's decision, but Dowds was convicted of murder after stabbing his partner, a lecturer at the college, 60 times, suggesting a life expulsion from the IfL may perhaps be in order.

But is this really necessary? In the unlikely event that Dowds applies for another teaching job, the mandatory check of his criminal record would be sufficient to scare off even the shoddiest of HR departments. And if that fails, his 17-year jail term will make it tricky for him to make it to an interview.

Thank you, your views are important to us

To inspire teenagers, it's important to stay on top of the latest trends, such as social media. At least, that's what Havering Sixth Form College thought when it decided to send out exam tips on Twitter and Facebook.

Alas, the plan backfired, with students tweeting indignant responses to the "obvious" suggestions, such as "Keep hydrated - it's the key to success". "Wish havering sixth form would stop texting me 'inspiring' texts," one said.

A search of the social media cesspool reveals that this may be the least of the college's problems with feedback. "HAVERING SIXTH FORM IS THE BIGGEST PILE OF SHIT EVER, IF I WOULDNT BE DONE FOR ARSON THAT PLACE WOULDVE BEEN LONG GONE," wrote one satisfied customer.

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