The week

3rd September 2010 at 01:00

Pencil-case sales soared and there was a surge in morning traffic - all signs that the new school year had started. But where were all those academies the Government had said it would create by September? Education Secretary Michael Gove announced that only 32 of the 2,000 supposedly interested schools had gained academy status in time. Journalists were briefed that this was all the fault of "aggressive" lefty teachers' unions and "useless" officials. Nothing to do with the fact that many governors decided they did not want to be rushed into such a serious decision. Or that some schools recognised their parents didn't want them to become academies.

The Independent Schools Council announced that its members' pupils were twice as likely to get A*s at A-level than the national average. Which was a big surprise to no one at all. But past suggestions that students from fee-paying families would "dominate" the top grade, making it hard for leading universities to admit state school pupils, turned out to be wide of the mark. The proportion of A-grade exam papers given stars did not vary too wildly between sectors: 26 per cent for independent schools, 23 per cent for selective state schools and 22 per cent for comprehensives.

Ofsted's outgoing chair Zena Atkins began popping up everywhere, even doing the late-night newspaper review on Sky News. In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph, she argued that it should be easier for private companies to take over the running of state schools. By a complete coincidence, Miss Atkins' next job will be managing the UK arm of Gems, a private education company.

While the BBC fought a legal battle to keep the identity of Top Gear's The Stig a secret, The Sun employed a child-sized version for a back-to-school report on micro scooters. The anonymous boy, dressed in white racing suit and helmet, gave his opinions on a range of the toys, including the Zinc Venom which features a "brilliant device that pumps water into the handle, letting you squirt your friends". We predict trouble for those on early-morning playground duty.

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