Kathy Fairweather, the chief inspector, was clearly following best ministerial arithmetical practice when she addressed primary heidies at their annual conference last week.
Stephen Byers, the schools' minister south of the border, had already established New Labour's new basic skills by declaring on radio that 7x8 is in fact 54.
Fairweather, primary curriculum boss of bosses, took this one step further. "The seven stages of 5-14..." she told the heidies. They gasped and shouted back in unison: "Nine stages".
Louise Watson, Wemyss Bay primary, chose to differ: "You were quite right, Ms Fairweather. There are only seven stages because secondaries don't implement 5-14."