Inchworm

21st January 2011 at 00:00
The policy wonk rethinking your profession

Monday: Finishing touches to the Department's new Touching Guidelines. These are long overdue and replace the ridiculous "Don't Ask, Don't Touch" system that caused so much misunderstanding over the years. The Gove is very keen on replacing a "culture of fear among adults and children" with what he calls, humorously, a "touch of common sense". The grim busybodies representing music teachers are moaning, again, and suggest alternatives to physical contact. Admittedly none of us has bothered to read their objections, but we bet they're suggesting ridiculous things such as telepathy, mime and thick gloves.

Tuesday: Can't the teaching profession EVER just sit still, pay attention and do as it's told? The English Baccalaureate is being rubbished by people who really ought to know better. Perhaps, as the Press Office is whispering to journos, they WOULD know better if their schools had had the EBac. Bloody Sandra singing "had had the EBac" to Take That's Relight My Fire all afternoon. Memo to self: kill Sandra.

Wednesday: Touching Guidelines slightly more complicated than anticipated. We have to produce a list of Appropriate Touching Moments: who, what, when and where. Obviously common sense is the key here, so we just put "use your common sense" for each category. We send the guidelines up to Scary Paula for approval: NO. Apparently we're also supposed to draw up guidelines for pupil-pupil contact. AND teacher-teacher contact. Not sure how much common sense exists in the playground or the staffroom, so we err on the side of caution. Pupils must not touch each other except during contact sports. Teachers must avoid touching except during a first aid emergency. In both cases we stipulate all touching must be "non-erotic". Sorted. Anticipating the inevitable whiney backlash (fetishists might get turned on by an illegal tackle or a Heimlich manoeuvre) we add the phrase "and agree upon a safe word" to the common sense thing.

Thursday: We're trying to discover why the EBac is getting such an adverse reaction. For purity of research our conclusions are based on conversations among ourselves rather than with teachers. That would be what we call a "scattergun" approach, which is how we describe everything the last government did. After lengthy discussions nearly all the way to lunch we decide there are two reasons why people don't like the EBac. Firstly, they don't understand it. Nothing we can do about that, they're thick. Secondly, it's a horrible contraction. EBac sounds like a virulent hospital superbug.

Friday: Decide to rebrand the EBac as EBACCA. This has a sly connotation both with smoking (cool with hard teenagers) and that Star Wars character (cool with nerds). Win-win, as they say.

As intercepted by Ian Martin.

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