The Week

7th May 2010 at 01:00

"TEACHER CLEARED BY COMMON SENSE JURY" screamed the front page of last Friday's Daily Mail as Fleet Street's most-read mid-market tabloid properly tucked into the Peter Harvey story with a gusto unusual even by its own high standards. The case of Mr Harvey, an extremely stressed science teacher from Nottinghamshire who'd been cleared of attempted murder after attacking one of his students over intolerable levels of bad behaviour, was always going to be meat and drink to the tabloids. One can only imagine the look of delight spreading across the face of hacks as the full details emerged. Still, one couldn't be in any doubt that the judge believed the jury had returned the right verdict.

Just as NASUWT apparatchiks were rolling out the Harvey case to any journalist that'd listen, so their counterparts at the NUT and the NAHT were limbering up for next week's Sats boycott. At the vanguard of this preparation was the heads' annual conference in Liverpool, where the passion and excitement was palpable, not least from Mssrs Brookes and Blower, the finest double act since Cannon and Ball. The duo could, perhaps, learn a thing or two about union militancy, however, from their teaching brethren in Greece, who last week occupied the main studio of the country's state broadcaster in anger at the swingeing cuts projected for that country's troubled public sector. Come on chaps, up the ante.

All this with the backdrop of the most unpredictable general election in living memory (this election, of course, now has a result - a result that was as yet unsettled when this newspaper went to press). Indeed the Balls, Gove and Laws bandwagon made it to the NAHT conference for its penultimate schools policy hustings of the campaign. Rumour reaches The TES that Michael Gove spent the previous evening touring Liverpool's Matthew Street, where one local accosted him with the fantastic line: "Eh, you're Michael Gove. What are you doing out on the piss? There's a general election on." Well, quite.

So by the time you read this missive, the country may have a new prime minister and education a new Secretary of State. Then again, it may not. Whoever it is, they better be nice to the nation's teachers for fear of seeing Keates, Blower, Bousted et al chaining themselves to the 6 O'Clock News studio ...

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