The Week

8th January 2010 at 00:00

Remember Christmas? Oh how we laughed. And New Year? Oh how we drank, danced and were merry. Yup, it really was just a handful of weeks ago when the winterval holidays stretched ahead of us all resembling an endless epoch of joy. It doesn't seem that way now, does it?

With electioneering apparently underway (just five months to go) and politicians launching themselves into educational bunfights with their usual zeal, Gordon Brown chose last Monday to turn up at the DCSF and re-announce a host of initiatives that we already knew about. There was, though, one eye-catching new proposal to pick through. That is until the language being used is scrutinised. See this: "As Mandarin becomes a GCSE this year, the Government is also today setting out their aspiration that all secondary school pupils should have the opportunity to learn languages like Mandarin if they choose." Just what does that mean? Exactly nothing, is the answer. Festive fun seems as far away as it does in the dog-days of May.

That is, of course, apart from those schools that closed due to the worst weather in the last 1,000 years. Because snow does mean fun, right? Maybe for pupils; but not for teachers battling against conditions more familiar to the Inuit. There was, though, a glimmer of good news in the blizzard of bad - at least the national press appeared to be a little understanding as to why schools might have to close. Back in February - the last time snowdrifts terrorised the English countryside - newspapers castigated school staff for bowing to the inevitable and locking the school gates. This time, newspapers seemed almost sympathetic. Ah, the fickleness of the Fourth Estate.

One thing our friends in Fleet Street can be relied upon for is a love of a good brothel story. Especially if it involves a former teacher. Luckily for them this week featured Robert Worrall, a former RE teacher found guilty of being the de facto finance director of the City Diva massage parlour in Stafford. This, of course, is the second such case in 12 months after one Tim Blake-Powell, a former Kent PE teacher, was convicted last July of running a house of ill-repute. Could this then be a trend? Picture the recruitment ad. Bored of your classroom career? Looking for a change of direction? In need of a fresh challenge? Why not try managing a brothel? With all those transferable skills the TDA bangs on about, surely the necessary professional expertise will prove easy to pick up ...

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