Love Island? Old news. Welcome, instead, to Gove Island

May's mugged off Morgan, Gibb's got eggs in multiple baskets and Hinds doesn't want to pair up with any policy...

Stephen Petty

Love Island

Anyone gettin' all prangy because some government education blood is now foolin’ around on Love Island just doesn’t get it. Listen in on some of the crazy bantz overheard inside that DfE building and you’ll soon suss that Love Island is mere home from home for Zara or for any other educational mandingas graftin’ away in there. 

Love Island/Gove Island – there's no real difference, bro. It's just another exploited crew forced each day to turn idle fantasies into realities, a squad that has to cut free from the real world for that to work.

Zara may not even realise that she's in a different place at all...

(In Ian Sterling's voice) PREVIOUSLY ON THE ISLAND…

Justine: Why does Theresa get so amped up about grammar schools? She thinks they’re well fit but that’s mainly because she’s always been a complete melt when it comes to selection. 

Nicky: Tell me about it. She mugged me right off. A total snake. She thought that her Rasputin-looking guy was a sort and so she totally salted me. Am crackin’ on instead now with those back-bencher hunks. Loads of beef there.

TODAY ON THE ISLAND: One islander is getting cold feet and is confiding with another... 

Damian: Not bein’ funny, Gibbo, but to be honest I don’t really fancy pairing up with anything on offer around here – free schools, academy chains, expanded grammars? Who in hell’s name invited them along? And once you’ve got the ick about something you just can’t shake it off. So I just hope I’m kicked off, soon as.

Gibbo: Damo, mate, don’t be such a melt. Live it! Eggs in basket! They reckoned I’d be pied off years ago, but I’m still here, still graftin’ with Theresa and not worrying about the consequences man.


Most intelligent people on that DfE island must surely feel a bit like Damian – marooned, confused and contractually obliged to play silly games in order to satisfy the personal whims of previous directors. So much of their day is wasted in pursuit of false idols such as free schools, academisation, expanded grammars and exam-only assessment of pupils and their schools.

At least Love Island is built on solid rock foundations. Sadly the same cannot be said for the country’s educational headquarters.       

Love Island glossary:

Bantz: verbal exchanges, often light-hearted

Blud: a fellow member of a group or gang

Crack on: begin a romantic relationship

Eggs in basket: keep options open

Grafting: putting in the time to win someone’s affection

The Ick: an awareness that a partner (or policy) now just makes you feel sick

Mandinga: a friend

Melt: a soft and soppy romantic

Mugged off: treated disrespectfully

Pied off: rejected

Prangy: nervously excited

Salty: angry, upset

Snake: a very deceitful and manipulative person

Sort: a very attractive person

Stephen Petty is head of humanities at Lord Williams’s School in Thame, Oxfordshire

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Stephen Petty

Stephen Petty is head of humanities at Lord Williams's School in Thame, Oxfordshire. 

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