Thank God it's Friday

1st June 2001 at 01:00
Monday "Rodents thrive at Civic Centre", sneers the local paper. I'm used to criticism of local government but this seems excessive. Reading further, I discover that mice are currently infesting the education department. They are believed to be subsisting on the remains of fast food that advisers discard as they rush between schools.

Tuesday A secretary reports seeing mice near my desk. I suspect that they are nesting in the boxes of national literacy s`strategy phonics training materials awaiting distribution. This suspicion is confirmed when a mouse is heard sounding out "C-A-T" just before it gets him. Mice are also seen sitting in a semi-circle while another squeaks at them for 15 minutes. They then run off in groups of five or six and regroup half an hour later.

Wednesday I suggest that the most humane way to deal with the mice is to dress up in red coats and hunt them with dogs, thus maintaining a local government tradition and providing jobs for many.

Thursday A colleaue tries to frighten the mice by putting up a spoof notice, saying that we are about to be inspected by Mousested. Unfortunately, the mice have already colonised a filing cabinet full of old Ofsted reports and now speak fluent Ofstspeak. They are unimpressed by the notice and grade it "6" before eating it. Night security staff report mice running about on computer keyboards. The mice have emailed a list of demands to all staff, invoking our social inclusion policy. They want a greater percentage of food to be devolved to them and the opportunity to cross thresholds at will.

Friday Analysis of their writing reveals that the mice have achieved level 4 and that male mice are doing as well as females. In exchange for bed and board, the mice agree to move out of the civic centre and into selected primary schools, where they are immediately put on the Year 6 roll. We are expecting a big improvement in the KS2 test results.

David Meaden is an adviser in an outer London borough

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