Our intrepid reporter Keith Ponting (30) tells us that David Willetts may be one of the first students to adopt the new mathematics curriculum devised by his ministerial colleague, Michael Gove.
Ponting explains that this new curriculum places a much greater emphasis upon the arithmetic part of mathematics and upon such specific skills as “the ability to count up to 100 both backwards and forwards”.
It is believed, claims Ponting, that this forward counting skill was the aspect of the curriculum that most appealed to Mr Willetts in that his entire fee-paying tuition policy was based on the assumption that 28 per cent of student loans would be repaid. But using the “counting forward” method it now appears that the true figure could be 40 per cent, making the scheme, in the words of a Treasury insider, “financially unsustainable”.
Ponting was anxious to deny “unfounded rumours” that the number of days to Mr Willetts’ resignation was already being “counted backwards…5-4-3-2-1”.
Source for the gander
For over 18 years, Bob Cratchett (56) has been a familiar figure on campus. Although you may never have spoken to Bob, you will certainly have seen him going about his business. Every day he works hard at maintaining the flocks of water birds that have done so much to make our artificial lake the envy of other institutions.
Now, however, comes news that Bob’s work on feeding and nesting and breeding will be outsourced to the Poppleton ring road conglomerate Techno Solutions plc.
Our registrar, Clark Brunner, called the move “an essential rationalisation” in that Poppleton has already outsourced its catering and library services as well as its car parking and undergraduate history teaching to Techno Solutions. “We will now have a single expert outside provider taking a coherent view across all these services rather than relying upon someone who knows what they’re doing,” he said. Such a change would be “in the best traditions of the university and its commitment to take a fresh look at how higher education works”.
Was this goodbye to Bob Cratchett? “Far from it,” explained Mr Brunner. “Bob will now be fitted with a smart new Techno Solutions uniform, have his pay reduced, lose a few pension rights and be subject to arbitrary dismissal if he fails to meet Techno Solutions’ cost-cutting targets. Otherwise it will be very much the same old Bob.”
A daffodil by any other name
Georgina Edsel, our Deputy Head of Brand Management, has welcomed the news that the single institution formed by combining the University of Glamorgan and the University of Wales, Newport, will be known as the University of South Wales.
Ms Edsel said she “thoroughly agreed” with Julie Lydon, the vice- chancellor of the new university, who said the new name was “cracking”.
“It would have been all too easy”, pointed out Ms Edsel, “to have followed in the path of Brunel and De Montfort and named the new institution after a historical dignitary like Max Boyce, but it’s clear that the vice- chancellor had her own ideas.”
Might the University of South Wales become confused with the University of New South Wales in Sydney? “Not at all,” explained Ms Edsel. “What makes the name so very ‘cracking’ is that the new Welsh university is very much the new University of South Wales, whereas the Australian institution is so evidently the old University of New South Wales.”
Thought for the week
(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)
“Next week’s seminar on ‘Using Language More Effectively’ is bleeding well cancelled because of lack of interest.”