The Week

24th July 2009 at 01:00

A report on social mobility commissioned by Gordon Brown proposed a bunch of things for schools that can be divided into two categories. First, stuff that the Conservatives were going to do already (such as introducing a pupil premium and creating yet more academies). Second, things that can be ignored because the Conservatives won't bother (such as education credits). Intriguingly, the report stressed that the real advantage private school pupils had were their "soft skills", such as team-work and communication, and access to extra-curricular activities. So the Government's obsession with state schools' test data may have been misplaced.

Don't get too excited about an extended summer holiday because of swine flu. Reports suggested schools would stay closed in the autumn if the pandemic worsened, after the Government said it would review guidance before September. In fact, closures are unlikely, according to chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson, because the tactic doesn't work and it would be "extremely disruptive to society".

Weirdest boast of the week came from former work and pensions secretary James Purnell. Writing in The Guardian, he said: "Britain is a policy model - for example, in Washington, where the twin priorities of more charter schools and fewer bad teachers are inspired by our schools' policy." Hmm. Except charter schools were being set up a decade before academies - and US politicians could have thought of the "fewer bad teachers" idea themselves.

Residents in Bolton launched a petition against "noisy" teachers and children of SS Osmund and Andrew's Primary School. Among their list of grumbles were: screaming children, ringing bells, footballs hitting mesh fences and "the games teacher's monotone bellowing throughout the day and after school". Headteacher John Thorpe told the Bolton News: "Some people will say the sound of children laughing and playing together can be quite uplifting."

The TES has reported before on the campaign by geographers to counter cliched criticism of their dress sense. But this week the press could not resist it when the first photos emerged this week of the new Doctor Who, Matt Smith. The Sun's headline? "Suits Who, Sir! New Doctor Matt dresses like a geography teacher." It noted he appeared to be "on a field trip" rather than "battling aliens". The Guardian's fashion editor added that the elbow patches were "not acceptable, even on an ironic level".

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