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The Ivory Tower Advent Calendar

Ivory Tower: We count down the days to Christmas, what’s lurking behind each door?

Michael Barber recording an episode of his achievements podcast about his tenure at the Office for Students, running time 2 minutes and 17 seconds.

A report from yet another lifelong learning commission, this one chaired by Danny Dyer and featuring Clive Sinclair, Johnny Ball, and Mary Berry.

Gavin Williamson stuffing a pair of Union Jack socks in his mouth, with his feet still in them, during another car crash interview on Nick Ferrari’s Breakfast Show.

Graduation Day for the degree apprentices on Professor Fagin’s handkerchief and wallet pickpocketing course, some prepare for a Master’s in chimney sweeping.

Jo Grady handing a leaflet to the postman as part of the University and College Union’s Strike from Home campaign, demanding better snacks and free slippers.

The UK domestic alternative to Erasmus+ called Darwin Minus, in which the fittest students are selected to compete in games for food on the Isle of Man.

Amanda Solloway presents a tin cup to the winner of her lockdown bearded cat competition, the winner is Mr Tiddles who looks like George Bernard Shaw.

Behind the scenes at the Office for Students consultation on standards, an infinite number of monkeys with infinite typewriters hope to come up with a definition of value-for-money.

The European Research Council selects its next president by selling lottery tickets. The winner, Mrs. P Braithwaite from Watford asks if she can work from home.

A fund manager from the Universities Superannuation Scheme with the goose that lays the golden egg. As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the goose has not laid since March. Nothing to worry about over the longer term says goose.

Michelle Donelan answers the door to carol singers. She reminds them that any carols they provide must be of high quality and compliant with their conditions of registration with the CofE.

A Christmas musical, Dominic Cummings takes the lead role in ARPA Sixpence, in which a high-risk, high-reward research agency is left with pennies having squandered £800million.

Dressed in red, Nicholas Stern visits the Research England office to confiscate chess sets, cricket bats and tennis racquets from staff working on the REF, says it is to prevent game playing.

A box of red tape, for all your regulatory needs.

A mile-long queue at a university Covid testing centre, students stand in line for hours after university’s timetabling software manages to book all their appointments at exactly the same time.

A Christmas pudding, otherwise known as the government’s plans for grade inflation in the 2021 A-level exams.

A present for universities: wrapped in paper, in the bottom drawer of a filing cabinet in the basement of the DfE sits the government’s response to the Augar report, labelled do not open until 2022.

A Toby Young article about how he has been denied free speech, it appears in The Times and makes the news on the BBC, ITV and Sky. During his 50th interview he demands the right to be heard.

The UK’s sovereign space programme launches a rocket, followed by a Catherine Wheel and a couple of Roman Fountains. Alok Sharma sings Fly Me to the Moon.

A Christmas jumper, another vice-chancellor looks at the university balance sheet and decides to retire before pension rules change.

Jennifer Arcuri launches her own challenger university with the help of government grants. She says, BoJo College will offer technology lessons and, with a straight face, “alternative provision”.

A Christmas truce as combatants from each side come out of their trenches, when the Office for Students and the Quality Assurance Agency agree to a joint inspection regime.

Three wise men, Sage advice as Chris Whitty, Patrick Vallance and Jonathan Van Tam try to explain to the prime minister that he is looking at the graph upside down.

A spectacular pantomime, the public inquiry opens into the government’s handling of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Away in a senior manager. Three vice-chancellors use the last of the Global Challenges Research Fund to tour the Middle East, drawn to the site of a miracle: a branch campus that actually makes money.

Terms of use: this is a free email for fun on a Friday, it should be shared among friends like a scotch egg during happy hour. Want to book tickets for the opening night of ARPA Sixpence? Want to say hello? Email ivorytower@researchresearch.com