The chip is designed to detect "trendiness" and can be programmed to be both environmentally sensitive and voice activated. It can register the movement of desks from the approved rows into groups and can be triggered by the following key phrases: "back in the 1960s; real books; mixed ability teaching; co-operative games; discovery method; peace studies; anything not spoken in standard English."
There are unconfirmed reports that it can be connected directly to a school's computer system and will adjust the budget according to its "T-index" performance, reducing severely trendy schools to penury overnight.
Field trials have resulted in teething problems, however. One resourceful primary school was able to quadruple its budget by prefacing every lesson with a group chant of: "competitive games, selection, streaming, big classes, grant-maintained status, literary canon, rigorous testing, phonics, standard English, OFSTED, 15,000 useless teachers."
It is understood that one headteacher tried to counteract rampant trendiness among staff by reciting a list of past Secretaries of State for education with the unfortunate result that the system achieved melt-down at John Patten.
David Meaden is an education adviser in an outer London borough.