Shropshire Star

Mark Andrews – Dog-friendly holidays, teachers against Ofsted, and the perfect gift for someone who has everything but taste

According to a new survey published this week, Wolverhampton is the least dog-friendly holiday destination in the UK. Closely followed by Dudley, Wigan and West Bromwich.


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That's my summer cruise cancelled then.

Still, it could be worse. They all fare better than Seoul or Pyongyang. And you do save on the plane tickets.

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A survey carried out by the University and College Union found that 57 per cent of teachers and lecturers thought Ofsted inspections should be abolished.

Which came as a big surprise to me. Surprise it was only 57 per cent. Meanwhile, another survey of a 1,000 teenagers found 85 per cent were in favour of abolishing homework.

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The UCU survey also found that nearly four in five teaching staff thought the term 'inadequate' was unacceptable. But what about the term 'unacceptable' – is that, er, acceptable or not?

And what should 'inadequate' be replaced with? 'Not good enough'? 'Must try harder'?

Maybe a sensible solution would be to give schools star ratings out of five, like the hygiene ratings for restaurants. Or washing machine reviews in Which?

I suspect that is not what the UCU has in mind though. Like the other unions, the UCU argues that one-word ratings are too simplistic, and that inspections should be summed up with wordy, long-winded summaries, filled with gobbledegook and trendy buzzwords.

But that would be to defeat the object of the inspections. The beauty of the Ofsted system lies in its simplicity, that parents can easily compare schools and see at a glance where the strengths and weaknesses lie.

Teachers might not like being told their schools are inadequate. But it is considerably kinder than some of the things some of the teachers wrote about me.

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Having trouble choosing that special gift for the friend who has everything? Well the good news is that for £120 you can now get a one-minute video of relationship advice from Katie Price.

The ageing former Page 3 girl has been accused of hypocrisy for telling one of her clients not to rush into relationships, and to remember who her true friends are.

I think this criticism is a bit unfair. After all, would you really prefer genuine, from-the-heart advice from Katie?

"What I would do if I were you would be pump your chest with silicone, have five kids with four different fathers, crash a pink Bentley and declare yourself bankrupt."

That sort of thing ruins lives.