Andrew Smith, the employment minister, has finally granted his first interview to The THES, after numerous requests that he answer colleges' fears about their role in the New Deal programme (page 8). But the Department for Education and Employment's pledge of "open government" still seems spurious. "No, we can't let you talk to any of our New Deal students," one worried college head told us. "It is in our contract that any communication with the press must be approved."
How the government thinks it can vet all of the 122,000 youngsters said to be eligible for the scheme remains to be seen. But the attempt seems like a superb job-creation measure for press officers.