Free for all

When he was in charge of education, Michael Gove used to go on about "the blob" - big amorphous system, with no character or distinction. How much better to have a range of shiny new academies, bright and thrusting,competing with each other to achieve excellence.

There's two news stories this week spelling out exactly what that costs us. First of all, we're short of teachers. nobody's actually minding the store, making sure there's enough teachers to go round. Schools are scrapping with each other, pinching staff, but no-ones actually in charge of the system as a whole.

And now today, reports that "thousands" of kids are being shunted out of schools, deliberately lost, because if they stay on the books they'll muck up the exam statistics. This was always the down side of the triumphant cries of "All our students get 5 A-Cs or more." The old O levels were never meant to be for every students in the country, but now schools feel free to just forget about the ones who won't do well in exams. Yet again, we used to have a system, but that was yesterday.