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:
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.
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:
…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):
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:
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:
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.”
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