Shining Knight

4th April 2008 at 01:00
It is common for people to lie about their appearance on the internet. The ugliest nerd can be transformed into an attractive 21-year-old model by the simple uploading of a photo.

And in the online universe of Second Life, where people adopt "avatar" cartoons to represent themselves, you can appear as almost anything you want.

So when Jim Knight, the schools minister, addressed a conference of IT teachers by virtual link-up in Second Life, he was faced with the dilemma of how honest to be.

"Those of you familiar with virtual worlds will understand the problems," the follicly challenged minister told a teachers' conference recently. "How honest about hair loss should we be? How can we preserve ministerial dignity?"

He admitted that the press office at the Department for Children, Schools and Families was having "palpitations" over the avatar.

In an aside later, Mr Knight said Ed Balls, his boss, had been a boy scout in his youth.

"That's why he's so keen on children swearing allegiance to the Queen," he said.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today