The Week

16th July 2010 at 01:00

"Here comes a massive pile of steaming doo-doo, Secretary of State, the likes of which you will never have experienced at The Times or on the opposition benches. So watch out. Duck if you can. Or at least wear a doo-doo-proof anorak." This is almost certainly not what mandarins at the Department said to Michael Gove as he prepared to ditch the 700-odd Building Schools for the Future projects in the pipeline. Perhaps they should have. Mr Gove will fast be learning the lesson that all new ministerial appointments learn: Yes Minister was more accurate than anyone could possibly imagine.

Also in need of some PR is our old friend Zenna Atkins, outgoing Ofsted chair, who rather bizarrely told The Sunday Times that every school needs a failing teacher - and that, in fact, many pupils learn valuable life lessons from the experience (cue massive front-page headline). Interesting that Ms Atkins is off to become chair of the independent school chain Gems. Watch out for any forthcoming recruitment ads: "Wanted: one bad teacher for budget private school."

But perhaps the story of the week featured one Mark Elms, head of the previously unremarkable Tidemill Primary in Lewisham, south London. In case you missed it, which seems unlikely, it turns out that Mr Elms last year earned more than #163;230k. Needless to say, the Daily Mail went to town on him, even sending the paparazzi to snap him as he cycled to work. The fact that a large swathe of this cash was back payments for advising the London Challenge was, of course, brushed over by the nation's favourite right-wing mid-market tabloid. Credit where it's due, however - the following day the same paper ran a story quoting parents saying Mr Elms was "worth every penny".

Weirdest moment of the week, though, must go to David Cameron, who claimed he was "terrified" at the prospect of trying to find a good state school in inner-city Westminster. Perhaps the heir-to-Blair ought to follow in his hero's footsteps and make a beeline for the London Oratory. Oh, he can't - he ain't a Catholic. And neither's SamCam. Conversion anyone?

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