The week

6th May 2011 at 01:00

The bank holiday weekend was dominated by two big news events; the surprise demise of one O.B.Laden of Abbottabad, Pakistan, and ... the National Association of Head Teachers' annual conference in Brighton. Not for TES staff, drunken street-parties to mark the marriage of a former Marlborough schoolgirl to an Old Etonian, oh no. We've got much better things to do. Namely, preparing for the annual bunfight that is the primary heads' get together.

What joy to be in a concrete conference centre by the sea as the sun gently warms the beach outside. Ice-cream, promenading and sunglasses contrasted somewhat with the discussion inside the badly lit bunker, where the school leaders were working themselves up into a feverish state of activism. Perhaps inspired by a small anarchist demo taking place outside (think whistles and black scarves), delegates voted both to threaten another Sats boycott if Michael Gove's review of testing doesn't go their way and to ballot over a strike if the Government goes the whole hog and dismantles their pensions. There seems little doubt that there's a very real possibility of action over Sats if they continue in their existing form, but the first ever NATIONAL WALK-OUT by heads? Really? It does seem rather unlikely.

All this talk of militant school leaders leads one easily to the green-shoots of an Arab Spring in the United Arab Emirates, which seems to be being led by the principality's teachers. News reached TES Towers this week that the government there has taken the rather authoritarian decision to remove the entire leadership of the country's teacher association because it signed a document calling for more democracy. The NAHT's new general secretary Russell Hobby had better watch out if his members continue on their lurch towards militancy.

And finally, our secretary of state appears to be getting into the royalist spirit by taking the example of Her Maj on board. We hear that one Glyn Lloyd, a retired headteacher living in Gloucestershire, last week received a personal note from Mr Gove congratulating him on reaching 100. Nice touch, Mr Gove, nice touch.

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