Inchworm

6th August 2010 at 01:00
The policy wonk whose heart isn't in it

Monday - "Summer holidays"? The phrase is meaningless here in the Govebunker, where a team of dedicated haircuts are working to academise everything in readiness for the new school year. Their work will be made much easier this month for two reasons. The first is that schools are closed. The second is the Spare Key Database. Few people outside the Department are aware that The Gove's first act as secretary of state was to order copies of keys for every school in the country. They're all held in a secret central location (requisitioned Woolworths in Derby).

Tuesday - Team Academy is now overseeing the distribution of spare keys to local groups of Big Society volunteers, who will have the power "to enter and rethink schools for a trial period" before Autumn Term. Our key targets are schools where the headteacher definitely doesn't want academy status. So while she's flopping about "recharging the batteries" in some nightmarish holiday shithole teeming with children, we're sending in the BigSoc makeover squads, and inviting a selection of middle-class parents along to see what an academised version of the school would look like.

Wednesday - It's tense in the Bunker. Tomorrow we'll get raw footage of a guerrilla Open Night held at Norman Wisdom School in Staffordshire. Total eye-opener for the younger Team Academy members, who'd never heard of Staffordshire. We'll be in the Ops Room, where everyone has to wear 1940s clothes to heighten the Britain Can Take It mood. The Gove cuts a remarkable figure at the centre of all this. He paid over the odds at auction for a genuine Churchill boiler suit. Unfortunately he's not really Churchill's size, so the sleeves and trouser legs are rolled up. His little head appears at the top of a billowing grey vastness. The crotch is only a couple of inches from the floor. It's like a tent has collapsed with him inside it.

Thursday - The film's in three bits. The first is very exciting: the Big Society Volunteer Force, wearing balaclavas, enter the school to the amusement of cleaners and an admin assistant. Then we see Operation Academise. The team bustle about, plastering the place with "aspirational signifiers" to appeal to the right sort of parents. In reception, a big glass vase filled with twigs, and a large framed mission statement: "Teaching Your Children To Think Like You!" In the classrooms, poorly-spelled, crudely painted items are replaced by essays on civil society and watercolours.

Friday - We watch the footage of Open Night. Very positive response to the presentation, "Parenting is itself a coalition". Shares will go on sale later this year when the school is academised and floated on the stock exchange. After consultation with the head, of course.

Please send your suggestions to inchworm@tes.co.uk.

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