Tuesday, 20 April 2010

The things we do

For greed, for power, for money, for position, for reputation, for self-esteem, for rewards, for awards, grown-up people will sacrifice other people's lives, especially vulnerable and younger people's lives, as they are obviously the easiest prey.

And other grown-up people will collude in their ambitions. So for, example, just an example, mind, a minister of state for education might want to make a name for him or herself by being the minister who "drove up standards" in education.

First they will need to find some standards to drive up, and if you find that the bog-standard comprehensives are really doing okay, quite bog, quite standard, well you have to change the standards, move those wonderfully moveable goalposts.

Next, the ambitious minister will need to find some similarly ambitious people at the top table in the regions. And hey, what do you know. Enter the private education company; the perfect interface between the next tier down and the government. And the head of this company [the "chief executive" - and that's a title you can believe in. Chief meaning top person in a sort of dangerous, ruthless way and executive - that sort of suggests gets things done, even kills people! Heavens, I hadn't thought of that before!]. The chief executive makes the Governors Unit put his or her name as the first word in every single letter that they send to the governors in Leeds [or whatever town] for nine years, so that his or her name is forever in the ether, on the paper and in your consciousness].

Will it get him or her a gong? One can either only hope not, or not care less. I could adopt both positions, and even simultaneously.

So now we have two levels of people, both with a desire just to be recognised, be seen as important, for power, for position. So how are they going to do it; They will need to find someone suitable a little lower down the education food chain. Teachers, and support staff. maybe? No, they're too busy, hard at work, beavering away, teaching the children, getting to know individuals, caring for the refugees, writing letters to keep imminent deportees in Leeds [sorry, in the UK - this is of course, only a possible example]. Do they need to get these teachers and support staff on board, or are they too busy doing good to be any use?

The weak links so far have been Senior Managment and Governors. They were the ones who caved in in previous fights. Let us hope that those who hold our schools in trust for us in the last three schools standing don't lose their nerve.

Educational policy should not be made up to suit the vanity of ministers; should not be made on the back of afore-mentioned envelopes. In City of Leeds, Parklands and Primrose Schools, there is much to fight for, and there is much to fight against.

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