Shedding light on a new task

11th November 1994 at 00:00
How many science teachers does it take to change a light bulb?

One - but science teachers cannot operate safely and efficiently without the support of a qualified, fully-trained, full-time laboratory assistant. A prep room (with a 13amp socket and an electric kettle) is also a necessity.

English teachers?

Several - one to change the light bulb and the rest to form a group to work collaboratively on the light bulb poem and a protest letter to the Secretary of State for Education pointing out how many lights have gone out since the abolition of 100 per cent coursework.

Drama teachers?

Two - one to change the light bulb and one to be the light bulb.

Technology teachers - previously Design Realisation (metal) teachers?

Sorry Squire, we only do toffee-hammers. Try woodwork.

Technology teachers - previously Design Realisation (wood) teachers?

No can do, but we can knock you up a nice table lamp.

Technology teachers?

When the Government finally decides what technology is and trains some technology teachers, we will be able to assess their light bulb changing competency and determine the appropriate quota of teachers per light bulb.

PE teachers?

One, who will not only change the light bulb but make sure it has a shower as well.


One, because the law requires them to single-handedly change everything constantly and, anyway, they've got The Head's Legal Guide to stand on.

Educational psychologists?

They do not change light bulbs. They would be only too happy to train you to change a light bulb, but unfortunately they do not have the time, owing to the enormous number of statutory duties which they are obliged to undertake, and the great shortage of educational psychologists.

OFSTED inspectors?

An OFSTED inspector has only to stick a pin in the school's name and defective light bulbs immediately start working again while the staff get to work devising policies on lighting, bulbs, switches, cable, and (because they know that phonics are the key to all the mysteries of the universe) each of the letters "l", "i", "g", "h", "t".

Educational consultants?

As many as you can afford, but at least one who specialises in the management of change.


Perhaps we could begin by asking if the light bulb really wants to change.

Phil Taylor is head of South Manchester High School.

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