The Week

18th June 2010 at 01:00

"Do you like wearing lab goggles?" If you were to answer "yeah", "yes" or "probably" to this easy question, you'll get an A* in 2011's GCSE science. If you answer "dunno" you'll still get a C. This, pretty much, is how Fleet Street covered Ofqual's decision on Wednesday to intervene in the development of next year's papers to make them harder. To say the coverage of this story missed some of the nuances of England's exam system would be an understatement. But never let it be said that editors miss an opportunity to truly give GCSEs a right royal kick where it hurts.

Talking of male appendages, Ed Balls this week opened his heart to the Sunday Mirror. It was interesting, in fact, to discover a heart at all. Following this surprising revelation came the even more shocking discovery that Brownite Mr Balls, who even his friends call "pugnacious", was bullied while attending private secondary school in Nottingham because of his name (see above) and his support for Norwich City.

Just as Mr Balls and his Freudian ego strive against the odds for the Labour leadership, so their successors disassemble much of his work in government. Another week, another quango lobbed on the bonfire. Following the QCDA, Becta and the GTC comes the embryonic Independent Safeguarding Authority and its stillborn vetting and barring scheme. It is not often that a project with such worthy intentions can have been so loathed even before it's up and running. But this will be how the ISA is remembered. That, and a gaggle of children's authors dancing on its grave.

In a separate development this week, it emerged that we weren't waving goodbye forever to Jamie Oliver as he set off last year to sort out America's fat kids. Far from it, in fact. For it has come to light that the scourge of Turkey Twizzlers is planning to set up his own school in England. One can't help but feel the repercussions of the Tories' "free schools" policy are only just emerging. And they're likely to be televised.

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