Worm, Inch - Futures Delivery Taskforce
Item 1: MORALE. Public sector thrift and looming election meltdown are creating a melancholy atmosphere. Team Ballsy is running out of time and money, so we have been tasked with devising a morale-boosting strategy. You'd think people would be more excited about our forthcoming appearance on Eggheads. We can hear Dermot Murnaghan saying: "Futures Delivery Taskforce. Have you got what it takes to beat the best quiz team in Britain and walk away with Pounds 17,000?" Oh yes. Memo to Selves: do some general knowledge cramming.
Item 2: EXCELLENCE. Quality Control want 10 per cent more Excellence in the system from next January. We decide that excellence is best increased by a) flexibilising the definition and b) enabling people to become excellent in their own terms. We suggest rebadging Centres of Excellence as Excellence Clusters.
Item 3: PSHE. We have to change public perceptions about personal, social and health education. As soon as Ballsy announced it would be compulsory from 2011, the newspapers went berserk. "Teaching our kids life skills such as sex education and handling money!" ranted one commentator. "Why not simply include prostitution in all school careers advice?" We go with Max's idea: change public perceptions about compulsory PSHE by reminding everyone it will be introduced under a Conservative government.
Item 4: FAITH SCHOOLS. Campaign to make faith schools seem less intimidating. We suggest identifying exemplars - inventing them if necessary - to show breadth and diversity. We invent the following: Opus Dei Middle School, Chichester: "In-house catering features supernatural vegetables and massive, trembling Catholic puddings." The Budding Buddhists Learning Hub, Brighton, where lessons are at lunchtime so everything can "be at 1". New Hogwarts, for child wizards on the astral plain near Taunton: "Inspectors praised the air of civility before being trapped by shifting staircases, transformed into hideous trolls, then slain." Atheism is represented by the Richard Dawkins Anti-Delusional Comprehensive, set in 30 acres of "non-divine countryside near Evolutionalming, formerly Godalming".
Item 5: CONFECTIONERY. Owen's birthday today. He's brought in some posh chocolates. Ambassador, we say, with your Excellence Clusters, you are really spoiling us. Inchworm.