It really is all over now ...

Eight o'clock and the playground is full of sunlight and children zipping about. Loads of them. A rich mix - a Rainbow Nation - is meeting just about every goal on the national curriculum. Boys and girls, swots and scholars, clots and bunkers - especially those Mr Blair wishes to incarcerate or render destitute. All charging about on level 11. All on stream, target, task. Differentiation on legs. Poetry in motion.

It's enough to make OFSTED purr. "A full range of strategies is being orchestrated." Not half. It's a ballet of tricks and flicks and chips and spins and feints and dummies. Dave Mania's in his element. This is what he does. Crippled by curriculum, he scythes through sunlight like Thierry Henry. Pure lyric grace. Cordelia Swansong nutmegs Furnace, plays a one-two with Alice, who turns and dances past the flailing Crumlin. A perfect interactive group dynamic, as they say. A Theatre of Dreams. Football.

Half-time. Crumlin rolls the ball to me. "'Ere Sir! Go on!' I can't resist. I put down the bag of SATs and enter The Zone. A hush falls over the stadium.

Shall I bend it like Beckham? I select the more difficult, artistic slice from the outside of the foot. Garincha, 1958. Like that. Perfect. It drifts and loops past Crumlin's insect limbs into the top corner. I last did this in 1954 for Chalfont St Peter primary.

I essay a lackadaisical cool. "You never really lose it," I inform the reeling Crumlin. Are you watching, Mania? Respect. I resist the urge to go zooming round the playground with shirt over head displaying the "Pay Teachers Lots!" vest. I forget bag and go into corridor. "Yessssss!" I yell smugly - probably over the moon.

The pips go. Mania puts ball in Tesco bag. The treadmill calls. It's downhill all the way. Still, my lessons might go well today. My knowledge of Metaphysical verse may not cut it, but I can bend it like Beckham. The beautiful game reaches those parts the national curriculum can only dream about.

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