Minute waltz;Diary

10th September 1999 at 01:00
VICIOUS rumours that the teach-and-tell book about Hackney Downs, the first school to be closed by a Government "hit squad", had not appeared on time because Michael Barber, a top Labour education adviser, had taken exception to its content are completely untrue.

The delay in its arrival in the bookshops is entirely due to Falmer, the publisher that originally commissioned Maureen O'Connor and two former teachers at the school to write the tale. Falmer wanted to drop the book after being told by its legal department there was a problem about the authors quoting from the minutes of Hackney Downs's governors' meetings.

The team decamped to Cassells, and the whole story -complete with quotes from governors' minutes can now be read.

It is unlikely Michael Barber has had sleepless nights over the book, but it is mildly critical of the fact that he was appointed to a hit squad for a Hackney school when he was a former chair of education in the borough.

What they did ...

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