Will Ofsted inspect our souls next?

8th October 2004 at 01:00
The Australian conductor Denis Vaughan has a reputation at the highest levels of government for creative policy thinking. He was the driving force behind the six-year campaign for the creation of the National Lottery and his lobbying for reform of the distribution of its profits, and for better cultural and spiritual education, are taken seriously in Westminster.

"They see me as a useful person because I give them blue skies thinking," he says.

Vaughan's latest idea is so out of the blue it is indigo. He has written to all heads of department at the Department for Education and Skills and chief inspector David Bell suggesting the introduction of a "scale of consciousness" in schools measuring, from 0 to infinity, the level of enlightenment of pupils.

Vaughan, who does not appear to have any satirical intent, says this is the answer to Ofsted's oft-repeated complaint that it is impossible to measure spiritual attainment in schools.

On the scale, a score of 30 points equates to an evil, destructive consciousness, 575 means "sainthood" and 750 "self-divinity as allness".

Scores are assessed by standing in a room holding your arm outstretched and getting another person (Vaughan suggests teachers and inspectors might do this) to ask you yes or no questions about your consciousness. A weak arm means "no", a strong arm means "yes". Vaughan has already received a reply from Michael Stephenson, director of strategy and communications at the DfES, saying he had"read the suggestion with interest" and distributed it to colleagues while Mr Bell says its introduction "would go well beyond my remit". Call us unenlightened, but we suspect RE staff are heaving a sigh of relief.

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