The Week

13th August 2010 at 01:00

One might assume that the position of a government minister would require a fairly developed political instinct. The kind of sixth sense that tells you there are certain BLINDINGLY OBVIOUS pitfalls to avoid if you want to stay in office. However, this core skill seemed to desert junior health minister Anne Milton earlier this month when she proposed abolition of free milk for nursery pupils. What on God's green earth was she thinking? Surely she must have been aware that Thatcher, Thatcher, Milk-snatcher was not exactly a PR triumph. Nasty Party, anyone?

And then came the publication of the first results for KS2 science sample tests, which were, frankly, flabbergasting. Not many would have predicted that they would see a year-on-year drop for level 4s of 8 per cent and a vast falling-off-a-cliff-style crash in level 5s. No one knew what to make of it all. But a special award must go to the online Telegraph's headline. "Primary school results 'inflated' by teachers," it screamed. Hmm ... not really, no.

Much easier to understand - and predict - is news that Richard "Aren't those god-botherers funny" Dawkins has a show about to be broadcast on More4 called Faith School Menace? In a staggeringly inevitable conclusion, the super-atheist is set to pronounce that such schools are "socially divisive". Imagine? He is also horrified that at one such school none of the pupils believed in evolution. Shocker. Whoever said investigative programme-making was dead?

Looming over everything, though, is the impending A-level results day. This year the anticipation is even greater than normal, what with the burgeoning application rate (courtesy of the recession) and the debut of the A* grade. The Wonderful Wacky World of Education was awash with predictions of massively brainy Laura Spence-types with seven A*s being rejected by top universities overwhelmed by wannabe-students who in sunnier economic climes would have entered the workforce. The recommendation for those unfortunate enough to miss out? Take a gap year and try again next year. Anyone fancy investing in a reprint of The Beach?

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