Last week, on the very day the Government announced yet another new national curriculum, this time to improve teacher training, John Allen of the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority gave a presentation to senior managers of north London secondary schools. Deputy heads and the like were handed a wad of helpful verbiage, which has come to my attention. On one short page alone I found two glaring spelling errors and one almost unbelievable malapropism. It said that too many children now being excluded from schools, loose their way. And who said so? Why, Gillian Shepherd (the Education Secretary spells her name Shephard). And Michael Barber, no less, Professor of Education at London University's Institute of Education, is cited as complaining that these excluded children were the disinterested. I wish our children really were free from bias, for that is what disinterested means. Could Professor Barber, one of Mrs Shephard's favourite advisers, have meant uninterested? And can it be that the Secretary of State's own department, the DfEE, has produced a press release headlined: "Hampshire and the Isle of White to lead Blitz on Basics"? A slip? If so, it is repeated - Isle of White - in the body of the text! Now this kind of sloppiness on the part of the very people who tell us that teachers and headteachers are below par makes me very angry. You know what they say about people who live in glass houses ...
So what, you may well ask, has Imperial College, London, got that dozens of other campuses apparently lack? The answer, according to that sexy (or should that be sexist?) magazine Cosmopolitan, is men. This month's issue has concocted a "man map of Great Britain", which pinpoints places that provide "supreme meeting/ matching/mating opportunities". Imperial College has "an impressive 71.4 per cent" of men and is selected as Britain's ideal courting campus. Hm. Will other campus chaps allow Cosmo to get away with that?
Losses for Leeds
Not only is Leeds University to lose Professor Peter Scott, its pro-vice- chancellor, and former editor of The Times Higher Education Supplement, who next January takes over the vice-chancellor's mantle from Dr Robert Smith who retires at the end of the year, but neighbouring Leeds Metropolitan University will also suffer a significant loss: Anne Creyke, its media relations manager. She will replace Ted Nield as press and public relations officer at the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals from Easter. Dr Nield, you may recall (this space, 16 January) is going to the Geological Society. Before she joined Leeds Met three years ago, Anne Creyke worked for the Yorkshire Evening Post.
Snub for Darling Daisy
The late Countess of Warwick once offered Easton Lodge, her Essex property, to the TUC to replace Ruskin College as an adult education centre. The offer was rejected, not because the sensationally pretty "Darling Daisy" was a royal mistress (plus ca change ...), but because Congress could not cough up enough cash for the refurbishment. Well, it was just after the General Strike and money was scarce. Now, I didn't know that - and I bet you didn't either. This and many other fascinating records from the TUC registry files, including those related to the rise of, and fight against, Fascism in Britain during the Thirties, have been kept at the University of Warwick's modern records centre since 1987. Clearly the TUC, which has just moved its valuable library to the University of North London's learning centre (my story, 13 February), has spread its treasures around a bit.
Car parking profit
So what does one do if one works at the London School of Economics and wants to drive in? Central London car parking is at a premium and the LSE has just 12 spaces for staff. So it does what any decent entrepreneur would do: it auctions them. Staff foolish enough to want to drive in and out of the Aldwych area have to place their bids in an envelope and pray.
The auction is held three times a year and proceeds go to the students' and staff benevolent fund. What were the winning bids last year, I asked. Stonewalled consternation. It does mean that your rich prof has more chance of a space than a poor but frantically busy lecturer or secretary. It appears the LSE director doesn't need to enter the auction. He has a space - perhaps the 13th allotted.
And finally ...
I hear that an American professor has discovered the main ingredients of love: lust, attraction and attachment. And it appears that the more "symmetric" a guy is (meaning he's got attractive ear lobes and elbows, would you believe!) the more likely he is to bring many women to orgasm. Not all at the same time, I suppose. The academic who is responsible for this remarkable research works at the University of New Mexico. His name: Professor Randy ThornhillnReuse content