The week

8th July 2011 at 01:00

"Have you taken your beta-blockers this morning?" It's been one of those weeks when headteachers around the country will have felt the blood pumping through their arteries and that little rage vein in their foreheads about to burst.

Dealing with last Thursday - or Strike Day, as it is now known - can't have been much fun (that oh-so-irritating letter from Michael Gove about heads' "moral obligation" to keep their schools open went down like a sack of proverbial). And then along comes this year's Sats marking debacle. Yes, once again there seems to be something of a controversy brewing over the marking of the 2011 writing paper. According to the NAHT, a vast number of papers were disastrously marked and appeals could reach an all-time high. And judging from the papers The TES has seen, there does seem significant cause for concern. Good news, then, that the Government looks likely to adopt the recommendation of the satisfyingly rhythmic Bew review that the writing Sat should be consigned to the wastepaper bin of testing history.

Deep breath: let the pulse rate dip. Something appears to be going heads' way. One thing that isn't, though, is their pension. In the wake of classroom teachers' walkout last week, news reaches TES Towers that secondary headteachers are quietly considering their own industrial action. Do we genuinely expect heads to walk? Can you imagine a senior management picket line outside the school chanting "scab, scab" at every teaching assistant lunging for the school gate? Thought not.

And finally, sympathies this week must go to Lee Hall, author of the Billy Elliot film screenplay, who revealed that his new community opera, which would have involved 300 primary pupils, has been cancelled after a Bridlington school objected to the lyrics. Opera North, which commissioned it, had asked him to bow to the school's request to remove lines sung by a gay character, including "I'm queer". A Guardian article about the impasse sparked an online campaign against the school and East Riding council accusing it of homophobia. The poor school's damned either way, though - if the show goes ahead, give it five minutes before the Daily Mail reports "CHILDREN AS YOUNG AS FIVE" being subjected to "GAY PROPAGANDA".

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