Skip to main content


The policy wonk whose heart isn't in it

The policy wonk whose heart isn't in it

MONDAY - Spend the morning carrying out finely targeted undercover research on Twitter. Summary: key figures in the world of education are wondering whether it's worth getting an iPad. I HATE the Department's new logo, especially on Twitter. There's a lower case f between the D and the E, and it always makes me jump. "DIE!" it seems to be screaming, "DIE!" Then - ping - The Gove sends me a direct message from his secret Twitter account, @GoveAlbion. He's assembling a special Rethinking Taskforce to adjust and realign public perceptions. "You know, perceptions of what education is, how it should be organised, what a reasonable profit margin might be..." I'm in.

TUESDAY - An email from Agnetha, The Gove's very glamorous PA. She used to be a Swedish model, I think, before being hired by Conservative Central Office. She's sent a "press kit" on the new taskforce, including an illustrated list of members. The usual eclectic bunch of uniquely talented young people with identical haircuts and... whoa. My old mate Max Singleton! I used to work with him a while back, before his lucrative career swerve - he joined one of the country's leading PFI literacy providers. I remember the days when he wore army surplus clothes and smoked roll-ups. These days, like many literacy providers, he's over-punctuated: three-piece suit, pocket watch, Moleskine notebookfountain pen set, monocle. Idiot.

WEDNESDAY - Meet Max for lunch. The world of literacy provision is treating him well, so he can bloody well pay. Yeah, his prospects have improved since Britain's Coalition Of All The Talents got in. Max used to fag for Nick Clegg at Westminster. "The thing about literacy provision delivery," he drawls, "is that it's all A4, so you can pack a Transit van with about #163;50k's worth." He laughs, dislodging his monocle.

It falls into his soup. I have the last laugh, and another Bloody Mary.

THURSDAY - To the Department. Inaugural meeting of the Rethinking Taskforce, chaired by The Gove. Agnetha is taking minutes, very efficiently and stylishly. First item on the agenda is "markets". After a brief discussion we agree to rethink markets as "networks", which makes them sound modern and friendly. Next: the "Ofsted Problem". Solution: rebadge it Insted, that way people will think it's instead of Ofsted.

FRIDAY - Taskforce, Day 2. A tough day ahead. We're braced for a lot of coffee and biscuits and enigmatic words scribbled on the whiteboard. Then, suddenly, a breakthrough. Suppose we set up a Dragons' Den format for headteachers seeking academy status? A panel of hard-arse sneery potential sponsors humiliating them... yes, excellent. Agnetha writes "Dragon's Academy" on the whiteboard, nobody mentions the misplaced apostrophe, then we all have lunch.

Please send your suggestions to

Log in or register for FREE to continue reading.

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you