Learn a lesson from Blackburn Rovers

9th May 1997 at 01:00
First find your millionaire, says Ted Wragg. Then your climb to the top of the league tables becomes easier

So you want to climb up the league tables? Well that is precisely what every football club would love to do. Like Mount Everest, league tables are there to be climbed. Nobody wants to tumble down them. Here are 10 hot tips for soaraway success.

* Tip 1 Start at the bottom.Too many schools make the mistake of starting half way up,or worse, commencing their campaign at the very top of the league. This is a grave tactical error, as you will never get on to OFSTED's list of "most improved schools". Make sure everyone gets a lousy grade one year, ride out the flak, and you can then sit back and enjoy years of success as you claw your way off the bottom rung.

* Tip 2 Move your school.There are certain areas that always do well in league tables, sosmart schools will simply uproot themselves and move there. Among the best known league-toppers are the Isles of Scilly. I recommend the Scillies. It is a pleasant place to live, and thereare no serious crime or pollution problems. Get your school towed out there and then simply moorit near a nice beach.

* Tip 3 The Blackburn Rovers strategy. One of the best known success stories in football is that of Blackburn Rovers who acquired a wealthy patron, bought expensive players, and moved quickly from lower league obscurity to the championship of the Premier League. Find a multi-millionaire and then simply offer Pounds 1,000 scholarships to clever children.If anyone objects, simply callit "parental choice". Lots of other dubious policies have been sold under this label.

* Tip 4 Fire the manager.The most common tactic in football is to sack the club manager when all is not going well. The chairman of the school's governors should call a press conference and announce "I have every confidence in the head teacherI fine figureI salt of the earthI position assured Ino question of job not being safe I'' The following week the head is pensioned off.

* Tip 5 Improve the gene pool.It is well known that geneticsplays a significant role in school achievement. Rewrite yourschool prospectus to state your policies clearly, such as "Stupid parents should apply elsewhere", or better still, "Got a degree?No? Well get lost, thicko." The subtle approach is always best.

* Tip 6 Win the lottery.Money may not be everything, but lack of resources can be a real problem. A quarter of primary schools spend less than Pounds 5 per pupil each year on books, and a half spend Pounds 10 or less. That barely purchases a decent book. Buy lottery tickets with your book fund. Think of the maths you can do instead (number, probability etc).

* Tip 7 Go private.Private schools are supposed toget better results than state schools. They spend several times the amount that state schools spendon books. As social class and school achievement are highly correlated, simply announce thatin future you will be chargingPounds 5,000 a year in fees. Call it parental choice again.

* Tip 8 Get drunk.Buy bottles of cheap supermarket plonk and get all the staff drunk. This won't actually change your school's league position, but the table will gradually go out of focus, so staff will not be able to see, nor indeed care, where they are in the league. Parental choice freaks invite parents to the Bacchanalian rites - for a fee.

* Tip 9 Get sponsorship.All the best football teams are sponsored nowadays, so sign yourself up with the local dog food or spigot company. If there isn't one, then try the local bookmaker. It will make no difference to your league table position, but you might get a decent tip for the Derby.

* Tip 10 Draw up your own league.The last tip is only for the desperate. There are strong argu-ments for adjusting raw league tables to take into account various factors such as prior achievement, or social background. So if allelse fails, then simply createyour own league table of schools with your outfit at the top. Tell everyone that it is a "value-added" table, and that you have used multiple regression. No one will have the faintest idea what youare talking about. Make sure, by the way, that you say "multiple regression", not "multiple orgasm" as they are quite different,though for statisticians they canbe similar.

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