Television - The Holly and the IV

19th December 2008 at 00:00
It's that time of year again when The TESS reveals its very own Christmas TV for teachers

5pm: Songs of Praise

Hymns include the Advent song of yearning: Come, Thou Long Expected Curriculum, as well as a selection of popular carols such as In The Bleak Mid-Winter - Budgets All Got Slashed! and Oh Little Town of Aberdeen, How Broke We See Thee Lie.

6pm: I'm a Probationer, Get me In There!

65 teachers compete for that all-elusive first prize, a permanent teaching post in the authority of their choice - and in their own subject as well!

Tonight's first-round Bush Tucker Trials include teaching a class of D-List school pupils who have been jungle-trained in disruptive techniques and assault procedures.

Hosted by the cheekiest presenters in reality politics, First and Deputy Ministers Alex and Nic. Grand Final later this evening.

6.30pm: Allo, Allo

A last episode of this once popular series is beamed directly from Walker Road Primary, Aberdeen, as funding for the French immersion programme dries up completely after seven years of plenty.

Tonight's episode is titled Adieu, Adieu, and stars Schools Minister Maureen Watt in a cameo role: "I vill say ziss only vunce", she intones severely. "Y'ere getting' nae mair money fae the Scoattish Government fur teachin the weans tae speak Frinch! No' when they kin hardly speak onny English!"

Next week: a new series of: Fit Like? Fit Like? (Grampian regions only).

7pm: Dr Who Christmas Special: The Academy

The Doctor enters a time vortex in search of the SQA's mysterious "Academy", a little-known branch of the qualification authority's Empire designed to clone teachers and train them in the inscrutably dark arts of "Assessment".

The Academy's origins lie in the damp mists of antiquity, and many entrants have long-since disappeared from public view, their only legacy a frightening sum of public money spent on projects that rumbled on for years to no great effect.

The Doctor is accompanied by Janet, his quietly-spoken new assistant from SQA, who "remembers seeing something about it in my predecessor's notes", but who's ready to root out wasteful expenditure at the drop of a sonic screwdriver.

7.30pm: Supermarket Sweep

It's the Scottish Regional Heat, as teams from two education departments battle it out for the title: "Most Cash-Strapped Scottish Authority, 2008".

Teams from Aberdeen and Renfrewshire outline the financial disasters to have befallen their educational budgets this year - and the winner is decided by telephone vote (landlines texts only - no mobile calls allowed, as they cost too much).

The winning authority selects two teachers from its workforce who will race down the aisles of lo-cost supermarket Aldi with two trolleys each, and see how much they can cram in to keep their authority supplied with stationery essentials for 2009.

8pm: Film: Bonfire of the Vanities

Suddenly, there's no more money for in-service training or Continuing Professional Development, and the educational training industry goes up in flames - quite literally!

Thousands of course-notes are set ablaze, and teachers around the country throw their arms aloft in celebratory joy: "Just think: no more courses on critical thinking skills or cognitive awareness! No more learning taxonomies or brain trainers and brain gyms! At last, we can get on with teaching the children!"

9.30pm: Fiona's School Dinners

Education Secretary Fiona Hyslop explains that every Scottish child in P1-3 in local authority schooling will be entitled to free school meals in 2009, and that the funding has been long-since agreed with the authorities. Rhona Brankin, Shadow Education Secretary, begs to differ and describes Ms Hyslop's credibility as being "in tatters, as half the authorities in Scotland don't believe her!" Pat Watters of COSLA referees the debate. Contains swearing and violence.

10pm: The New Statesman

In a remake of the 1980s comedy, Lindsay Roy takes on the controversial role of Alan B'Stard, MP, who has defected to New Labour, and promises to fight for truth, justice and righteousness. "I've sorted out Kirkcaldy High," he proclaims, "and next I'm going to sort out Alex Salmond!"

10.30pm: Christmas Appeal

Brian Cooklin from School Leaders Scotland appeals for new members. "People ask us if we've changed our name from Headteachers Association of Scotland to be more inclusive.

"Well, it's partly that. But it's largely because we're pretty desperate for membership fees. So if you've had any experience whatsoever of leadership - whether a milk monitor in your primary school, or seconded for a period of at least two weeks to a position that involves ticking at least 10 boxes in a final report - then you can help us. Send me your money now. It's urgent."

11pm: Grand Designs

The programme where an enthusiastic builder takes an empty shell of a building that's lain derelict for years and shares his vision of how it can be transformed into a brand new, state-of-the-art community school.

Unfortunately, this episode comes from Aberdeen and the cash runs out just after the drains have been dug and the cesspit fitted. The programme closes with an aerial shot of an empty shell of a building that's lain derelict for years ...

11.30pm: I'm a Probationer, Get me In There!

The Final Vote: set in the jungle surroundings of GTCS Headquarters at Clerwood House, the last 20 teachers attend a publicity reception hosted by Fiona Hyslop. The final Bush Tucker Trial is called "brown-nosing", and the highest scores will be given to those who can demonstrate the most disgusting display of sycophancy to Ms Hyslop.

But it could be tricky for them, as the Education Secretary insists: "I don't believe all this tosh about there being no jobs available. All of these probationers should have jobs by next Christmas, whether it's in a school of their choosing, or in their local Morrisons or Tesco."

12.30am: Epilogue - Have Yourself a GLOWing Little Christmas

GLOW spiritual adviser Father Laurie O'Donnell invites local authorities across Scotland to join him in prayers for completion of the GLOW Advent Tree before Christmas Day.

"We've got 27 GLOWing balls hanging on the branches just now," he implores viewers. "So we only need five more to reach our target of every authority in the country giving us their donations.

"Please bow your heads to help make my Christmas dream come true - and let the GLOW project come to fruition as a complete set of balls - 32 of them, in fact."

12.40am: Closedown.

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