The Week

29th January 2010 at 00:00

As the NUT and the NAHT crept one tiny step nearer to the promised Sats boycott this week, everyone looked at each other and wondered who would blink first. And if no one blinked, would The Mick and Christine Show really lead thousands of teachers in blowing a collective raspberry at the department in May? Like a pair of hardened sea cap'ns these generals-secretary do appear to be steering their respective tankers on a collision course with Mssrs Gove or Balls. The legal path towards industrial dispute is well trodden, while the route towards a resolution where no one loses face looks increasingly one for those with twinkle toes. Time to replace the sea-boots with ballet shoes, perhaps?

Both Brookes and Blower will no doubt have been delighted by the unambiguous headline on the Guardian website on Tuesday: "Parents back threatened Sats boycott". This would have left few readers in doubt; the Voice of liberal England must have commissioned a major scientific poll of those at the school gates. Sadly they'd be wrong. By "parents" the paper meant, of course, Mumsnet founder Justine Roberts. It appears that in the Grauniad's offices, Ms Roberts - wife of the paper's deputy editor - is now considered a conduit for the opinions of 3 million parents. Useful, eh? And so much cheaper than Ipsos Mori.

Talking of parents firmly encamped in the Metropolitan Elite, let's turn to one David Miliband and his musician wife Louise. The avowedly atheist Heir to Blair and his consort found themselves in all sorts of do-do on Monday after it emerged that they'd picked a CofE primary for their eldest son when there was a secular one much nearer to their Primrose Hill home. Imagine, eh? A middle class north London couple fudging their religious credentials? As unsurprising as it was, depressingly it didn't stop the right-wing commentariat from using it to tuck in to schools - who can blame them, given the state of schools? They're only doing it for the good of their children, etc etc ...

For a little light relief, over to one of Miliband's more popular successors as schools minister, Jim Knight. Mr Knight proudly informed his Twitter followers earlier this week that The Conservative Party is an anagram of Teachers In Vast Poverty. Given the state of the national finances and the promised public sector pay freezes, however, there's probably no need for wordplay to make that prediction. Happy days.

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