The week

16th April 2010 at 01:00

Oh the joys of blanket election coverage. Politicians being grilled on 1,000 media channels, often on subjects far from their comfort zones. A case in point was shadow foreign secretary William Hague being quizzed about Tory schools policy on the Today programme. Political gladiator that he is, Hague parried most of John Humphrys' thrusts. But then it all unravelled. Repeatedly asked if parents really want the "free schools" model, Hague crumbled. Frustrated, he turned to the failings of state control in "Soviet Russia" as his defence. The Tories may want to create clear blue water between themselves and Labour, but suggesting those who disagree are Stalinists may be a little OTT. Humphrys' snigger said it all.

But it's not as if the messages from Team Labour were any more coherent. While not quite in the same league as Dan Quayle's "potatoe", proof-readers of the Future Fair for All manifesto ought to have been a little more thorough on the schools chapter. In that case, they might have noticed the missing "e" in the phrase "promote excellence and narrow achievment gaps". And some bright spark should perhaps have spotted in a press notice on Wednesday that Ed Balls is not "education secretary" and is, in fact, Children's Secretary. Anyone for a billion-pound rejig of education and social services?

On Wednesday, heads stepped into the fray, 51 of whom sent a joint letter to The Guardian full of fine one-liners. Unambiguously pro-Labour, the letter - including signatories such as Sir Alan Steer and The TES's Ray Tarleton - warned voters to be wary of "boutique experiments borrowed as a result of naive educational tourism". Were they hinting at Michael Gove and his well-thumbed copy of a Rough Guide to Sweden, perchance?

Amid all the electioneering, only the sharpest eyes would have spotted the week's highlight, which saw the Coronation Street debut on Monday of Britain's finest weekly education paper when John Stape (played by Graeme Hawley) was looking for jobs. Cue whooping at TES Towers.

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