Pile it high and sell it cheap

31st March 2000 at 01:00
IMAGINE, the directors' director Keir Bloomer, asked heidies at their recent spring conference, how Education plc might fare if it was in the food retail industry.

"Here we stand in the fruit and veg aisle of Sesco (Scottish Education Supermarket Company). We stop at a display labelled 5-14 tomatoes. The usual sell-by date is absent - so we ask a passing assistant. He replies: 'Some of these tomatoes will be squishy by Friday and most will certainly be past it by a week on Thursday.'

"A little puzzled, we ask which ones to choose. 'Take the ones labelled E,' he suggests. 'They're the best unless, of course, you can find an F - but they are very rare.'

"Moving on to the next display, he comes to our rescue again. Just as we are rummaging through the apples looking or some Es, he says: 'No, no, take the As this time: these are Higher grade apples.'

"When he starts to explain to us that the standard pears next door don't have As or Es, only Fs, Gs and Cs and that the foreign ones have an added written test which you needn't bother with, we turn on our heels and flee the store."

Visitors to the next aisle at Sesco's might have found very little stock on the shelves, Bloomer suggested, with two or three assistants wandering around looking bemused and overworked.

"I can't think why they want us to work all hours throwing out the old Higher biscuits and putting in the new ones," says one. "Anyway, they were really popular. Why don't they want us to work on the Intermediate biscuits? There's customers waiting for them."

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now