30th April 2010 at 01:00
Abroad consensus amp; Poll position

Abroad consensus

The skies may still be filled with volcanic ash - how long does that stuff take to come down? - but one thing is clear: college staff and students are getting far too many foreign trips.

That's the only possible response to the stories of dozens of staff and students who were "stranded" in desirable locations by the eruption of a volcano with a name that looks as though a cat crawled over your keyboard. (Eyjafjallajokull. Shoo!)

Bridgwater College students, for instance, were stuck in Mississippi on an exchange trip. The college said its students were being treated well - isn't that what hostages say? - and they had been given access to a pool and gym, with their host college throwing a party in their honour. FErret is sure they can't wait to get back to the classroom, though.

Meanwhile, Hereford Sixth Form College topped them all by taking a geography field trip to see the volcano itself, only to find it unexpectedly erupting. That must have been a hell of a risk-assessment form to fill in.

Poll position

FErret's colleagues at TES Towers have been chatting to election candidates who work in FE and bring him news of an intriguing hustings debate.

The candidates for forgetful mortgage-payer Elliot Morley's old Scunthorpe seat will be debating at John Leggott Sixth Form College, facing questions from the students. So far, so ordinary.

But the Labour candidate for Scunthorpe is Nick Dakin, the college's principal. So not only would he have home turf advantage, he could also threaten students with detention if they lob him tough questions.

(FErret imagines that sending Paxman home with a note to his parents is the dream of many politicians.)

Sadly, we will be denied such a spectacle as Mr Dakin is not able to attend the hustings at his own college and will be replaced by a candidate from a neighbouring constituency. It's probably only fair on the others.

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