When it comes to making one's voice heard, there is little to match the power and effect of the protest song. Nor is there anything that quite equals the sheer exuberance and free-floating hormones of the school disco.
Now the two have combined to create #OfstedMusic, a hashtag that is putting political (or, edu-political, at any rate) protest squarely where it belongs: on the dance floor.
After Amanda Spielman, Ofsted chief inspector, said in a speech that headteacher bloggers were engendering fear of Ofsted, those same headteachers – and their staff – decided to get their own back on Twitter.
And so they took to the virtual dancefloor. As with the best school discos, they began with the singalong classics:
It's fun to blog for the HMCI— Stan Dupp (@SDupp) 26 November 2017
It's fun to blog for the HMCI
You can say what you’ve seen, you can say what you’ve gleaned
You can blog what you feel
Spiel man, are you listening to me?#ofstedmusic
I will survive! As long as I know how to teach I know I’ll stay alive, I’ve got all my life to teach, Who needs a social life and sleep? I will survive. Go on now go. Walk out the door. Assess my data, my books will tell you all #OfstedMusic— Miss❤️Messyscience (@wonderwomanLH) 26 November 2017
And, if that doesn’t have everyone on the dance floor waving their hands, then there is one song that is guaranteed to do it.
Part 4 (getting carried away now, sorry)— Sophie Bee (@_MissieBee) 26 November 2017
I see a little silhouette-o of a man
Michael Gove! Michael Gove! Is he still in their gang, though?
Gibb & Ms Greening, always intervening, we
Want to say no! x5
Why won’t you go-o-o-o!#OfstedMusic
Of course, what every teacher and head of a certain age really wants from a school disco is a solid run of 1980s songs. We begin with a little Tiffany:
#OfstedMusic— Dominic McGladdery (@dominic_mcg) 26 November 2017
I think we're a one now by Tiffany
That's what they say when Ofsted ring us
And watch how you play
They don't understand
And so we're marking just as fast as we can....
…before moving on to something a little more serious (cue slow dancing for the Year 6s, and single-sex swaying back and forward for everyone else):
Every breath you take— Old Primary Head (@Oldprimaryhead1) 25 November 2017
Every move you make
Every bond you break
Every step you take
I'll be watching you #ofstedmusic
The protest song, however, is a serious musical genre, with a serious history of serious singer-songwriters. And it would be a poor satirical hashtag that failed to pay such artists their dues:
Oh OFSTED, you’re breaking our hearts,— Beth (@f33lthesun) 26 November 2017
you’re shaking our confidence daily.
Oh OFSTED, we’re down on our knees,
Begging you please to go home.#OfstedMusic
That's me in the corner,— Pete Wharmby (@commaficionado) 26 November 2017
That's me in the spotlight,
Losing my outstanding rating,
Trying to not care about you
But I don't know if I can do it.
Oh now I've blogged too much,
I've never blogged the truth.#ofstedmusic
The best protest movements – and school discos – take on a force of their own. They become irresistible. They’re where all the cool cats are at. So much so that, eventually, even those on the other side of the debate want to join in:
‘Don’t go changin’— Ofsted (@Ofstednews) 27 November 2017
To try and please us
You don’t have to work that hard
We don’t like mark schemes
You don’t buy into -
We like you just the way you are.’#Ofstedmusic #SorryBilly https://t.co/gjpQWnYugB #Ofstedmyths
Soon, of course, it will be time to go home. But not before the most memorable moment of the night. The moment everyone will be talking about in the corridors, the classrooms and the staffrooms the next day: when one of the teachers, powered by adrenaline, power chords and three Diet Cokes, takes centre stage and gives it his all:
Explaining why he decided that it was time for disco to morph into karaoke, Twitter teacher @MrEFinch told Tes: “I think that Amanda Spielman’s suggestion that heads should not discuss their professional situations with each other on social media or blogging platforms was a very serious misstep.
“People could have been angry or upset. But, instead, it came out with humour and creativity and joy. I really wanted to honour some of those people who’d spent time, and created those lyrics for a song. It’s a little nod and a thank you.”