Here are the Diary's awards for the real stories of the year

29th December 2000 at 00:00
SO 2000 was the year for news about road and rail chaos, flood and pregnant chads? Not according to our records. Here are the Diary's awards for the real stories of the year.

* Mobile magic

Best use of technology: the gong has to go to the pupils at an unnamed London comprehensive who, in early February, broke the news to their astonished teachers of their 3.3 per cent pay rise. Magic? No, mobile phones.

Or maybe the anagram website that managed to turn "performance-related pay" into "mere end-of-year claptrap" is a more deserving winner?

* Acting up

Rudest performance by an official at a meeting: obviously Chris Woodhead wins hands down - the only matter for debate is which performance most deserves the prize. Should it be for huffing, puffing, sighing loudly and drumming his fingers on the table throughout a July meeting of the Standards Task Force (hardly appropriate conduct for its vice-chair), or his stunning display at the November meeting of the education select committee - just one day before he resigned?

Accused of making "offensive" remarks, he told the committee he "would not be censored" over his infamously controversial comments.

* Tense tunes

Services to music: The award goes to the five Lancastrian classroom practitioners whose covers band is called the Manic Stressed Teachers.

Runners up are poptastic sensations S Club 7, for taking the Tesco shilling to appear alongside Michael Portillo at a recent launch of the supermarket-sponsored "Computers for Schools project. They then lent Estelle Morris and a group of secondary students from County Durham a hand in November to record Count on Me - a song to promote Maths Year 2000 (but without actually singing a word themselves)

* Impressed? hardly

Biggest vote of confidence in the General Teaching Council: In April, the Diary reported that, after weeks of agonising, former Press Assocation education correspondent Tim Miles had decided to leave the long hours of hackdom behind to become press officer for the nascent body from May.

He lasted barely five months before decamping to the London Evening Standard.

* Kids come first

THE craftiest way of filling the tank during the petrol crisis: A teacher in Lewisham, south London, was met by a decidedly unfriendly garage attendant who asked, as she queued during the September shortage: "Are you an emergency service?" "Well, children need their Shakespeare," she breezed. The petrol flowed.

* Speaking volumes

Best reaction to Chris Woodhead's resignation: Ms Morris's performance on BBC2's Newsnight takes the cake. Jeremy Vine asked her: "Are you pleased that he is going?" She said: "Mr Woodhead decided that it was time to move on."

Vine: "Do you think that he was a good head of OFSTED?" Morris: "There has only been one." (Actually, Stewart Sutherland was the first).

Vine: "Did you like him?" Morris: "I worked with him."

* We confess

We couldn't finish without a final mention of the education story of the year and confirmation that we are mere mortals. The award for most misguided Diary prediction goes to our bold statement of October 27 that "rumours about the imminent departure of the chief inspector have always proved premature". OK, so he resigned six days later. We've since polished the crystal ball and if it pulls that sort of trick again it's history.

May 2001 be a great year for everyone in education.

Contact us at:diary@tes.co.uk


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