The Week

12th February 2010 at 00:00

"We gotta fight, fight, fight, fight - fight for this love." So sang the Nation's Sweetheart, Cheryl Cole, as The X-Factor reached its zenith last Christmas. And as she warbled her way into the hearts of 16 million viewers, so, it seems, she also crooned her way up the latest league table of which celeb kids would most like in charge in class. The Geordie Barbie doll has overtaken David "Tardis" Tennant as the most sought-after teacher among The Youth. Bizarre, then, that just as she reached this pinnacle, she became subject to a strange Facebook group campaigning for a sausage roll to win more fans than her. Which of the two, however, would be more likely to pass the Tories' stringent entry requirements for teaching? Reconstituted pork-based product or Pop Idol princess? It's hard to say.

Just as the profession's entry bar has been a hardy perennial in edu-news (the Commons schools select committee needlessly repeated all the same arguments again this week), it has recently been joined by the Swedish free school model. Newsnight randomly picked Monday to round up the age-old debate about whether the system would work in Blighty. Unexpected, however, was that the report would induce an almost sexual shiver of pleasure from the normally frigid Team Balls. Per Thulberg, director general of the Swedish National Agency for Education, told the programme: "This competition between schools that was one of the reasons for introducing the new schools, has not led to better results. The lesson is that it's not easy to find a way to continue school improvement." What's that you can hear in the distance? It's Ed Balls weeping tears of gratitude.

Not that Michael Gove would have noticed, of course, as he was otherwise engaged. Reports reach TES Towers that Monday saw an implausible meeting between the rubber-faced Tory top-dog and Hollywood A-lister Goldie Hawn. Improbable though it is, these days the star of Private Benjamin fills her off-set hours running a foundation specialising in how social and emotional learning techniques should inform pedagogy. The glamour of it all ...

P'raps Gove could have been distracted from staring dreamily in to Hawn's eyes by news that the nation's top public schools are plotting the creation of a new independent fee-paying university in Kent? Could there ever be a story that would gladden Conservative hearts more? Almost certainly not.

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