The week

18th September 2009 at 01:00

Spare a thought for the senior leadership team and governors at Headlands School and Community Science College in East Yorkshire, who faced the worst kind of controversy this week when a fifth member of staff in four years was up in court for having inappropriate relationships with pupils. You heard that right: the fifth. What made the story even more staggering was that Monday's hearing featured a martial arts cover supervisor employed to replace a female member of staff who'd been suspended ahead of prosecution for inappropriate conduct with a boy. Many heads these days are adept at dealing with bad publicity, but it's going to take some extraordinary PR somersaults for this school's local reputation to be rebuilt. Good luck to all involved.

He had thousands of fans, and counted celebrities among his supporters. But an outpouring of love couldn't stop Marcus the Sheep from becoming chops. The six-month-old became a cult figure this week as parents campaigned to stop the school pet being sent to the abattoir. Headteacher Andrea Charman said children at Lydd Primary School in Romney Marsh, Kent had voted "overwhelmingly" in favour of slaughtering Marcus, and the process would teach them about food production. Unfortunately a small group of mums and dads disagreed. According to the Daily Mail, they have branded Mrs Charman a murderer, and Kent police are investigating threats against the school. Should make parents evenings fun for Mrs Charman, who only joined Lydd Primary in January.

Potential teachers prefer to do things slowly, it seems. Just 13 people have signed up to the six-month fast-track scheme launched with great gusto by Gordon Brown earlier this year. The scheme hasn't had an easy ride, with unions attacking it from the start. It seems the DCSF weren't that keen either, making just 40 places available. NUT general secretary Christine Blower took obvious satisfaction in announcing that less than half the places have been filled. But The TES revealed problems two months ago, when those running the course couldn't find enough quality applicants.

Good old teachers' champion Vernon Coaker probably didn't expect that the job of schools minister would mean sharing a stage with racing-car star Lewis Hamilton. Let alone top billing at the launch of Formula One in Schools World Championships. But that's the way junior education ministers roll. Oh yes.

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