Have you noticed?;Briefing;Governors

26th June 1998 at 01:00
I HAVE just written my first press release and I am very proud of it.

It consists of selected quotations from my school's Office for Standards in Education report and makes us sound absolutely wonderful.

The trick is skilful editing, taking the first half of a sentence and stopping when you reach the carping word "but"; enhancing a few words of praise here and there by removing them from an unnecessarily grudging context. After all, it is only what all other schools are doing, isn't it? They cannot all be as unblemished as their press reports suggest or poor Mr Woodhead would have nothing to talk about.

The same process has been used since neon lighting was invented by theatre managers everywhere. Such laudatory phrases as "His Best Play Ever", "Very Funny", "An Enjoyable Night in the Theatre" are sharpened up considerably simply by editing out that horrid little word "not".

I decided to break with tradition and allude briefly to our "points for action". Our local authority press office advises the use of such phrases as "building on current good practice". I added a quote from the head, pledging us to develop the full potential of all pupils, without acknowledging the existence of OFSTED at all. Should keep everyone happy.

Joan Dalton

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