The Stark reality of education’s Game of Thrones

From inspection regimes and gatekeepers to the living dead and turncoats, edu-land has its blockbuster elements
26th May 2017, 12:00am
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The Stark reality of education’s Game of Thrones

With the general election and the return of HBO’s Game of Thrones weeks away, the similarities between the struggle for supremacy in edu-land and the power grab for the iron throne in Westeros are striking.

Theresa May could be Mother of Dragons - or, perhaps more fittingly, Mother of Grammars (you just don’t know whether you are going to be burnt alive or soar to great heights). She is ably supported by her Varys, Master of Whisperers Nick Timothy, his network of little birds chirping away, keeping close tabs on the loyalty (or otherwise) of Her court.

Speaking of grammars, our secretary of state makes for a brittle Sansa Stark, in a constant state of anxiety, held captive by beliefs that are not her own. How many times can she be used and abused for political gain? Her opposite number, Angela Rayner, sees herself as something of an Arya Stark. Bless.

In Nick Gibb, we find our Stannis Baratheon: dutiful, stoic, seeking power, but ultimately led astray and destroyed by an obsession with his own High Priestess, phonics.

And who are our Lannisters? The Inspiration Trust’s Dame Rachel de Souza cuts a fine figure as the formidable and single-minded Cersei, while her sidekick, Sir Dan Moynihan, can be none other than the impish Tyrion: according to the saying, Lannisters “shit gold” - and with that salary, what else can he be doing other than eating it?

As for the noble, misunderstood Lannister, Jaime - step forward Sir David Carter. He truly is a Kingslayer, having seen off the Mad King in Sir Michael Wilshaw - who, for his part, even though consigned to history, makes sure everyone still talks about him.

Through the Moon Door

Our Lady Regent of the Vale is Amanda Spielman, high up in her tower above the fray, and hoping her high walls protect her and her Moon Door: like the live-or-die inspection regime, without it she is powerless.

In Geoff Barton, we see a man of the people, Bronn. Charming, eye to the main chance…and rather fond of sharing pointless pics on Twitter.

Sitting in his tower, Walder Frey acts as an immovable barrier to all movement across the kingdom - one is reminded of the NASUWT teaching union general secretary, Chris Keates. Bitter and ranting about the lack of regard and respect from the other players in Game of Thrones, this one will block progress come what may.

Seeking alliances wherever he can, Michael Gove is Littlefinger. A former master of the coin, this treacherous Thrones character must not be trusted at any cost, but somehow always manages to worm his way back in.

Finally, the Teach First White Walkers: armies and armies of dead-eyed zombies, marching on to the orders of the Night King, who himself is only interested in recruiting more. If they’re the answer to the recruitment crisis, then winter really is coming.

But where is our Jon Snow? Our idealistic, noble and brave hero, and the true heir to the throne who would secure peace and stability across the land? The sad truth is, we don’t have one right now. And without him - or her - as a sector, we know nothing.

The author is the CEO of a multi-academy trust somewhere in England

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