Inchworm

4th February 2011 at 00:00

Monday: To a seminar: Teaching English as a Non-Foreign Language. We're harvesting as many new ideas as we can find these days at the Department. They don't have to be any good, just new. The seminar's "memetrope" is that foreign students are cleverer at learning English "as a rule" than their British counterparts. Well, duh. No wonder. A foreign student has a work ethic. A British student "as a rule" is a dim, hormonal slacker with the same attention span (and complexion) as the Greggs Steak Bake she's cramming into her fat face, no offence. Seminar workshops include "To Much Emphasis on Spell Skills?" and "Has the Apostrophe had it's Day". By afternoon tea, a consensus. The English language needs streamlining, we should hire foreign English teachers because they're cheaper, and if we get a wiggle on we can be home in time for Countdown.

Tuesday: Oh God, I hate Jazz Tuesdays. Ever since The Gove appointed Owen Kenobe the Jazz Psychometrics guru as a special adviser, the Department resonates with improvisational bollocks every week. It's part of what Kenobe calls "brain training for squares". It's horrible, like working in some North Korea of drivelly trumpets and epileptic drum solos. We're supposed to start the day with 15 minutes of "jazzercise" to free up our synapses, before tackling the reform of British education with innovation and syncopation. Everywhere you go, Kenobe's left little jazz Post-it notes. "THINK: do kids bap dap doo-wap really need better male wabbeda wabbeda tish tish role models? Or just doosh doosh psychometrical JAZZ models? Pish pish ga-blap DADDIOS!"

Wednesday: The attraction of Jazz Psychometrics is that it's cheap. Why spend #163;40 billion on new school premises when you can push up achievement levels with decent acoustics, mood lighting and a pumping rhythm section? Kenobe's masterplan is to REDUCE the number of teachers, DOUBLE class sizes and HIRE IN jazz trios to improve learning and discipline in the classroom. The Department of Work and Pensions is keen on the idea too. With approximately 800,000 amateur wine bar jazzers claiming benefits, this could be a wabbeda-wabbeda win-win situation.

Thursday: Some horrible noises coming from Kenobe's office, and not just via a flugelhorn. There's a rumour that his report on rationalising the Department, Jazzing Down, is nearing completion and that it'll make public sector cuts elsewhere look like aimless tinkering. Or as we call it here, jazz.

Friday: Oh, this is starting to look very bad. The Gove was spotted last night at Ronnie Scott's, wearing Ray-Bans and a beret. Today, he's asked to see every idea we've had for the past year. We're being evaluated for "swing" and "virtuosity". Shit. Correction, "scat".

As intercepted by Ian Martin.

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