Subjects for sinners

1st March 1996 at 00:00
It has been decided that the teaching of morality shall not be in a single lesson. To do so might create a forum in which pupils would ask questions and discuss issues and thereby be in danger of thinking that morality has a link with personal opinion. Instead, morality is being subsumed into the core curriculum with different subjects tackling different commandments.

Thou shalt not steal

The mathematics department shall integrate this into their scheme of work by teaching, not that five minus two equals three, but that five, being an upright member of society of greater value than two, has the right to live life free from the threat of reduction by a feckless and bored three who should be given useful community tasks elsewhere.

Thou shalt not kill

The history department shall make itself responsible for teaching the revised morality indicator: They shall not kill. Any deaths resulting from British action shall be regarded as regrettable and inevitable casualties, whilst all other injuries shall be seen as the consequences of the actions of bloodthirsty and power-crazed dictators.

Thou shalt marry and have children

The science department shall refer to all atoms which are not part of a chemical compound as lonely, miserable and sad, and to those which have shared their outer shell of electrons with another atom as fulfilled and happy.

Thou shalt not commit adultery

Chemistry again. When teaching the chemical formula of water, in which one oxygen atom bonds with two hydrogen atoms, the department shall make its disapproval clear and assert that the oxygen atom should "make up its mind".

Thou shalt not work on Sundays

The English department shall hold daily demonstrations of ways to keep occupied on Sundays. These may include drinking tea, eating Battenburg cake and going to the cinema. Reading aloud may be permitted. In order to maintain the realistic nature of these demonstrations, it will not be necessary for English staff to be on site at any time during the week.

If, in addition to the above measures, Home Technology can be persuaded to hold no false wine tastings and CDT to remove the making of graven images from their schemes of work, we are confident that Government advisers' fears for the morality of our children (being entirely the responsibility of schools, where less than a third of their lives are spent) will be addressed, and that they may lose no more sleep over this issue.

Antonia Honeywell teaches English at Ashcombe School, Dorking, Surrey

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