A thank-you for golden moments

24th December 2004 at 00:00
It is that time of year again. The cash-stuffed brown envelopes are safely tucked away in Swiss bank accounts. Academy members have been wined and dined, flattered and cajoled. At a secret location in the West End (of Surbiton) tonight, the tuxedos and the competitively skimpy dresses will be out in force for the education event of the year, the Diary Awards for Derangement and Absurdity.

We can give readers an exclusive preview of the winners. First, the GTC Award for Pedagogical Professionalism. Despite strong competition from the leather-trousered, YMCA-singing Confed chief Chris Waterman, the award goes to the anonymous inventors of "exam room chicken", in which invigilators walk up exam aisles at each other. The first to veer away are the losers.

Other games include who can hand out the most extra paper and "Beast", in which invigilators race to stand next to pupils who resemble animals named by their chief invigilator. Now that's what we call professionalism.

The Insight into the Adolescent Mind award goes to the fifth-former asked, in an end-of-year quiz: "What film title combines the most important human emotion with the most important body organ?" The answer? "Braveheart". The pupil's response? "Free Willy".

It has been a year of mistaken identities. The Tories thought Chris Keates, NASUWT general secretary, was a bloke and there was a surreal moment when Margaret Hodge , minister for children, was confused with fragrant actress Patricia Hodge. But runaway winner of the Peter Sellers award for surreal Impersonation is David Hart, leader of the National Association of Head Teachers, accused in September of planning a coup in Equatorial Guinea with "Thickie Mork" Thatcher. It later emerged that the David Hart named by the leader of the mercenaries was not the NAHT leader but a Thatcherite millionaire. But not before a picture of our David appeared in the Independent when it ran the story.

Finally, let's not forget the people who make all this education possible: the parents. The Durex award for Parental Contributions was hotly contested this year but for the beautiful succinctness with which it summed up the essence of so many parental-school relationships, who could beat the following excuse note, sent to a Scottish school: "Dear Miss, Fred couldn't do his punishment exercise as his sister and I treated him to a McDonald's."

Email us diary@tes.co.uk

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