16th April 2010 at 01:00
Sweet sensation amp; Memory muddle

Sweet sensation

You know what FErret thinks the further education system needs more of? Novelty sweets. That's right: novelty sweets, preferably with the logo of an education quango on them or something.

Now, some might argue that we really need better professional development for teachers, more pay for hard-working staff or more flexibility for colleges to respond to local employer demand.

To which FErret says: why not think bigger? We could have 3D moulded logo lollies! Bespoke jellies! Designer biscuits!

So thank goodness that the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) spent more than pound;6,600 on "branded food products" from a company called Sweet Concepts. FErret can feel the country becoming more skilful as he writes.

Even better, this initiative is not limited to FE, with the Health and Safety Executive spending pound;6,000 on branded tea bags intended to raise awareness of falling over on building sites. The RAF also spent up to pound;900 a year on special mints to strike fear into the hearts of our mint-hating terrorist enemies.

Memory muddle

A politician's life is a busy one, we can all agree: if you're not filling out expenses forms, you're travelling between your two homes.

So it's understandable if one or two things occasionally slip through the cracks and get forgotten: things like, "Did I remember to abolish that pound;11 billion quango?"

Something like this must be the reason why, days after scrapping the LSC and launching us into a funding system almost Zen-like in its simplicity - one of the main Zen principles being poverty, of course - FE minister Kevin Brennan appeared to forget he'd done it.

Answering a Parliamentary question, he said: "The LSC is committed to ensuring that no college experiences financial difficulty as a result of decisions taken on capital." Not anymore, it's not - if it ever was. Of course, it could just be that some assistant cuts and pastes any old boilerplate copy in lip-service to democratic accountability in the Mother of Parliaments. But surely not.

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