In the world of education policy, George Orwell is commemorated….. all children are equal, but some are more equal than others.
We will admit that we have “gifted and talented” children, of course (or are we giving them a different label these days?). But heaven forbid we should admit that the rest of them aren’t thoroughly equal and able to achieve the same as each other.
This may not be quite such blatant innumeracy as that displayed by that dangerous idiot Gove when he wanted all children to be above average, but surely an awareness that human abilities are approximately normally distributed – and so we might expect approximately as many low achievers as high achievers – is not too much to ask? But no, admitting that not all are able to reach any given benchmark is the great unmentionable truth of our time.
Obviously, if those on high dictate that all shall achieve a given standard at the end of KS2, it will automatically come to pass. If it doesn’t come to pass, it will be someone’s fault. Or the curriculum’s fault. Or anything except a problem with the assumption. And if they dictate, as they have recently, that work previously covered in Year 6 should now be done in Year 4, or that even more different areas must be included in the curriculum – then of course, that would happen if it wasn’t for those damn teachers.
Headteachers are obviously infallible and good at everything, right? So, this is what they need on their senior team:-
a) People who smile and nod and agree whenever their opinions are asked. After all, dissent is just a waste of time.
b) People who are clearly much less able than their boss. Don’t want them thinking they might know about something or be able to make independent decisions.
c) People who have conspicuous weaknesses to divert attention away from those of the Head (Aargh! Blasphemy! Heads don’t have weaknesses…)
It’s also pretty helpful if the person appointed ticks a few boxes to show what a wonderful inclusive environment your school is.
If you still have a multiplicity of candidates… do look at factors such as costs. The really ideal candidate not only is a totally unthreatening yes-person, they will also fill some handy gaps in your timetable – or at the very least, not produce any extra expenses.
Once you have appointed, and trained them in spouting management-speak… do make sure you put your new SMT member in the firing line, so that if they were an internal appointment, they are safely distanced from their colleagues quickly, and if an external one, they never get to build up any dangerous loyalties.
Then – perfect! You have a senior team member who has no loyalties or affiliations except to those above them, and has no interest or ability in questioning their superior. You have created a living, breathing, ventriloquist’s dummy!
God forbid we should have our young people focusing on anything other than being productive workers!
- Ensure that any leisure time pupils may happen to have at school is not wasted. Although they must, regrettably, be allowed to eat at lunchtime, any spare time there is for intensive training in getting over the D-C borderline, or redoing imperfect coursework, or taking on optional subjects.
- Do not let pupils leave school too early – 6 pm is about right. There is a danger they may not be productive at home. Similarly, ensure they arrive by 8 am at the latest, so they can be gainfully occupied.
- As a parent, under no circumstances allow your child to have unstructured time – they might develop some imagination, and the ability to fall back on their own resources! Ensure their time is fully occupied – after completing their homework, there is always room for additional tuition. Specific goal-focused activities which can be assessed, such as studying a musical instrument, may also be acceptable. A rigid, purposeful timetable is the key.
- Pupils must not be allowed to travel anywhere without something specific and constructive to do. Time spent chatting to other pupils on a school bus, for example, leads to further time-wasting activities such as developing friendships.
- Impose a school policy such as “A* grades are the most important thing. Any pupil not getting A* grades across the board has no time for extra-curricular activities”. This should safely put paid to any dangerous “fun” at school as most pupils will not be allowed to participate, rendering the numbers too low for most activities to be viable, and those few who are eligible are obviously being insufficiently stretched by the curriculum and so can be encouraged to take additional subjects.