It's not all shipshape

27th January 2006 at 00:00
Unravelling the jargon of educationspeak

We at St Jude's like to run a tight ship. Indeed, as the day wears on, it often becomes tighter. Education is full of ships, to judge from the flood - if you'll excuse the expression - of material from the Department for Education and Skills. They are keen on leaderships and headships, particularly of flagships, and are not averse to scholarship.

Our headteacher is very pleased with one of the latest diktats, which calls for dedicated headship time. He has, so to speak, taken it on board.

Basically, it means that he mustn't do too much teaching, so that he can focus on strategic leadership matters. Honestly, there are more ships round here than you'll find at the Spithead Review.

Now, we below decks think that dedicated headship time is all well and good, just as long as you have a dedicated head. Unfortunately, the only dedicated head we ever had round here used to belong to a school inspector, before the little unpleasantness involving Maurice and the school woodwork shop. We dedicated it to the National Theatre, where they use it in productions of Hamlet.

No, we just have a plain old head, who thinks that one of the great perks of the job is not having to do any more teaching ever again. Now he's got even more time to not do it, leaving him free - it says here - to focus on improvement and development and caring for the well-being of staff and pupils.

It's a nice idea, but given that he has enough trouble focusing on the racing pages of Sporting Life we think it's unlikely that our work-life balance is going to improve much in the immediate future.

Frankly, we've had enough. We're launching a campaign for some dedicated teachership time. In it, we will not be required to teach, or mark, or prepare, or focus on strategic visions. We will not have to read any incomprehensible rubbish from the DfES. We will not have to listen to any incomprehensible rubbish from our headteacher. This will reduce our reading and listening time to nil, leaving us free to concentrate on being tight.

That and cleaning the rest of the stains out of the woodwork shop.

If the headteacher doesn't agree to our demands, we're going to mutiny, and then he'll be well and truly scuppered. They don't call us a sink school for nothing.

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