CHRIS Woodhead may condemn it for an "ingrained culture of failure and hopelessness", but Waltham Forest still has its fans.
In a touching tale, the authority - roundly criticised by OFSTED last month - has received an unsolicited testimonial. Andrew Lock, put-upon vice-chair of the education committee, produced it in a recent meeting.
It came from Lionel King, now of Birmingham, who has nothing but good memories of being educated in Walthamstow - in 1942.
There must be hundeds of thousands like him, he reckoned. And he enclosed pound;5 to help the borough keep up the good work.
The council is very grateful, an official tells the Diary, even though the fiver won't go far towards paying for the new school they're trying to build. But how will they spend it?
"We'll definitely spend it on the kids," he says. "But with delegated funding, we're not sure whether we should give 85 per cent to the schools and keep the other 75p to spend centrally..."