Skip to main content

The week

Britain's blunder-prone exam boards found themselves in deeper trouble this week after three more errors were spotted in GCSE and A-level papers. An AQA GCSE maths exam included questions from its March paper, while OCR's Latin GCSE contained incorrect names of writers and characters and its physics A-level had a measurement involving centimetres that should only have been in metres. Does the expanding catalogue of errors mean the boards have been particularly clumsy this year? Or has the internet made it easier for teachers and pupils to realise they are not alone when they spot an inaccuracy, and report it? We would offer that as a potential exam question, but the boards would only stick a mistake in it.

If teachers' unions were annoyed about the test errors, they grew even angrier about pensions. The leaders of the ATL and the NUT popped up on television to defend plans for next week's national strike. So far the Government's strategy has been to send in Francis Maude, Cabinet Office minister, who has argued that the strikers do not appreciate the impact school closures will have on working mothers. Given that the teaching workforce is 70 per cent female, and the majority have children, it is fair to assume that quite a lot of the strikers probably do.

Of course, rather than talking to real teachers, politicians would much rather get face time with celebrities. Hence the Commons education select committee's decision to call in the star cast of Jamie Oliver's Dream School this week to give their views on the curriculum and behaviour. Clearly, celebrities who have spent a few hours in a school with only 20 students and the constant presence of a camera crew will have a unique perspective, unmatched by those who toil in schools day in, day out.

Some MPs would probably prefer it if the whole education system was run by television stars. Luckily, Carol "Rear of the Year" Vorderman's review of maths teaching will be published shortly (this is not a joke). And Peter Jones from the BBC's Dragons' Den has set up an academy for 16 to 19-year-olds. You may have heard of it - it made the front page of the Mail on Sunday this week: "Dragons' Den star's tycoon academy in #163;9m row over 'mismanagement' of taxpayers' money".

Log in or register for FREE to continue reading.

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you