ITEM 1: ASSESSMENT DAY
All five of us in early, but Scary Paula's already waiting, arms folded, slowly pacing round the room. We each get a circumspect "good morning", then silence. Caz arrives (finally) and the bollocking is called to order.
ITEM 2: BACKGROUND
"As you know, the Department is urgently seeking ways of doing more for less." She looks at us in turn. "Expanding horizons by focusing resources .". She goes on like this for a bit, then one by one we're invited into the breakout room to discuss the work of the think tank, and what exactly it is that we "bring to the table". I'm the last in, just before lunch. Caz, Owen, Max and Sandra give nothing away, but all look like they suddenly need a blood transfusion. "So," says Scary Paula, not even pretending to read her notes. "You've been a member of this taskforce for five years. Can you give me some examples of your unique insight?" I open my mouth to speak, but she's not looking. "Ten examples, say. Your 10 best ideas from the past five years .".
ITEM 3: MY PORTFOLIO
I reel them off. There was that online reading scheme I devised, Accessibilising Literacy. My teacherbouncer job-swap initiative. A nationwide Teachers' Dress Down Monday to encourage less formal footwear. My idea to create greater fairness throughout the profession with a "masters-level playing field". My proposal to bring together floating teachers and sinking schools to achieve some sort of, I don't know, buoyancy and equilibrium. I suggested rebadging Sats "Saturdays" to make them sound more appealing. I thought up a new RE awareness campaign called "Oh. My. God." There was my mooted "Uber-tier" of super heads, The Phalanx, to be selected by Sir Alan Sugar. Last but not least, I suggested redefining dyslexia as a bourgeois problem, thereby solving it privately. "That's nine," says Paula. Moment of panic. Think, think . OK, what about fitting the Department with special policy wing mirrors so that in future we don't do a U-turn into oncoming traffic? I'm dismissed.
ITEM 4: VERDICT
Lunch quiet and miserable. I say lunch, but it's just sandwiches and a bit of fruit. Paula emerges mid-afternoon, Pontius Pilate in a trouser suit. First she'd like to thank us for our (she pauses here) hard work, but these are tough times, etc. With immediate effect our think tank will be reduced to four and the person we're losing is . Sandra. Phew. Where is she, by the way?
ITEM 5: EGGHEADS
Sandra bursts in, clutching a printout of an email from Corporate. It confirms that the Futures Delivery Taskforce is to represent the Department on the TV quiz show Eggheads. "I said there was a rumour we'd be downsized. But you need five contestants for Eggheads. So Corporate says we're to stay as we are for now .". Nobody notices Scary Paula leave. Inchworm.