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The Week

The universities are in uproar. Training colleges fear decimation. PGCE and BEd courses teeter on the brink. Welcome to the nervous, exhausted and emotional world of education academia in 2011. This week, academics have been desperately scurrying around attempting to understand the full consequences of the Government's cuts. In all fairness, Michael Gove has never made a secret of his desire to see university teacher training pared back and replaced with a school-based alternative - perhaps academics should have been more prepared. Also, it's worth bearing in mind that many on the right have long subscribed to the view that they are "left-wing madrassas" that should be dismantled. So not such a big surprise then.

More of a surprise is the Government's continued determination to leave RE out of the EBac. Specialist teachers have been reporting that the consequences of not being among the chosen few are already being felt in their departments, with some even claiming job losses are on the cards. It does seem weird - verging on inexplicable - that ministers are so keen not to include this traditional subject. But perhaps Mr Gove's insistence on avoiding a volte-face was influenced by Sunday's Politics Show - it repeatedly ribbed him for his track record on U-turns, comparing him unfavourably to she who "was not for turning".

This week did, however, feature some very cute politic-ing from the Department, with the appointment of Dame Sally Morgan as Ofsted chair. An arch-Blairite, a convinced public sector reformer and a big fan of the academies programme, the former Number 10 insider has more than a little in common with any number of Mr Gove's advisers. The explanation for the appointment might lie in this passage from Tony Blair's memoirs, which have apparently become a bible for Cameroon ministers. "[Morgan] could reach the women in (Labour) in a way others couldn't. Some women, by the way, are the last people best placed to canvass other women. Others do it superbly. Sally was not one of the 'wimmin'; but she could reach outside of that New Labour circle (and) could talk more than one political language." Could Mr Gove be worrying about his faltering relationship with education's three major union bosses, Ms Blower, Ms Keates and Ms Bousted?

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