The week

30th July 2010 at 01:00

Raring to set up a free school? Or to turn your school into an academy? That should be easier now as the Academies Act was passed on Monday. Writing in The DailyTelegraph, commentator Janet Daley attacked those complaining that the legislation had been rushed through under measures usually reserved for anti-terrorism. "As far as I'm concerned, the condition of Britain's state schooling is pretty much on a par as a national peril with a campaign of dirty bombs," she wrote. With such level-headed support for the act, what could possibly go wrong?

Good news, everybody. Next year will see the start of the pupil premium, providing more cash for children from deprived families, on top of existing school budgets. The Department for Education's announcement was only undercut by the fact that: a) we don't know whether it'll be a meaningful amount of cash; and b) it's an announcement both coalition parties said they would make for three years before the election. But progress, potentially.

In grimmer news, the independent inquiry was published into the death of Khyra Ishaq, seven, who was starved and abused by her mother and stepfather in Birmingham. It said the laws on home education had been partly to blame: they had made it difficult for social services to intervene after Khyra was withdrawn from school. Education Secretary Michael Gove said he would "consider ... what changes need to be made to the existing arrangements, and reply in due course". That would be the same Mr Gove who, only three months ago, blocked the kind of legislation the inquiry proposed, saying it would "stigmatise home educators". So don't hold your breath.

A Kent primary excluded a 10-year-old boy for three days for drinking a can of Ben Shaws bitter shandy. Tabloids accused Edenbridge Primary of overreacting as the shandy contains less than 0.5 per cent alcohol and is sold legally to children. Given how seriously schools must take pupils' diet these days, we suspect the sugar, sweeteners and E numbers in the fizzy drink could have got the boy in just as much trouble.

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