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13th July 2001 at 01:00
How dare David Blunkett sneak off to the Home Office? Don't I remember some sort of undertaking that he would resign if his targets for key stage 2 national tests were not met by 2002?

So what happens now? Does he have to stand down as Home Secretary if we are a couple of points short next year, or will Estelle be for the chop? Or, as I suspect, are all bets now off?

Ms Morris has been quick to amend some of her predecessor's more recent follies, promising a review of the hastily introduced AS-levels and key skills exams, and allowing trainee teachers more latitude on their maths and English tests.

Perhaps we can also look forward to an easing of the literacy hournumeracy hour booster class tyranny that has turned our primary schools into exam factories.

Mr Blunkett will not be remembered for raising standards, as he promised, but for disastrously lowering morale and single-handedly creating the worst teacher shortage for a generation. Of course, he did have a little help from his appointee Chris Woodhead. Now Woodhead is tipped for a peerage, Blunkett gets promoted and the rest of us are left to pick up the pieces.

That's politics.

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