In one of her less well-chosen words this week, Estelle Morris warned she had "audiences" other than teachers. She may not have meant that popular impressions are what really count. But the high proportion of children now in sixth forms ensured this year's AS-levels debacle attracted considerable publicity. So it is not a complete surprise to find one of the first things the minister does is order a rapid inquiry.
Would-be teachers coming to grief over the skills tests which barred their way into the profession also arranted the minister's urgent concern, as did the schools hoping to employ them from September. Having obtained every other qualification, student teachers found themselves rejected at the 11th-hour for failing a timed arithmetic test that has no relevance to their classroom performance. Thankfully, Ms Morris has now addressed this injustice by allowing them unlimited opportunities to pass the test. It is not a perfect solution but her willingness to reconsider misconceived policies offers hope for the future.