23rd July 2010 at 01:00
FE Ferret spills the beans on what's really happening in further education

Pretentious, moi?

FErret was pleased to have another excuse to play with his new pretentiometer the other day when he heard that FE mininster John Hayes was addressing the Association of Learning Providers.

The pretentiometer, loyal readers will remember, was created to measure the extent of literary references in the speeches of Mr Hayes.

Within seconds of the minister taking the stage, it had registered an Aristotelian observation on friendship, followed in quick succession by a few lines from Shakespeare's Henry V and a snippet from Macauley on oratory.

Mr Hayes had only to mention it was Bastille Day to start the pretentiometer's predictive function, which is like predictive text on a mobile, only better.

Quotes from Marat, Desmoulins and Danton flashed on the screen, but Mr Hayes resisted and went on to talk about replacing Train to Gain.

FErret feels that this is an opportunity missed - a bit like Train to Gain.

The plot thickens

First it was a nubile intern, then a duck house, but now there's a new accessory that every MP must have: an apprentice.

Tory MP for Harlow, Robert Halfon, started the trend by hiring one from a Harlow College and Essex County Council scheme, while FE minister John Hayes has pledged to recruit one for his office.

One can see the benefits to the MPs: apprentices are good workers and known to make organisations more productive. (FErret presumes that the plan to offer employers a pound;2,000 bonus won't be available to MPs and ministers, however. That doesn't even cover the bill for cleaning your moat, anyway.)

But he dreads to think what the apprenticeship framework for the House of Commons would look like. Cynical voters may raise an eyebrow to question what the "competence-based element" is. Can we look forward to the development of an NVQ in Plotting and Scheming?

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today