OFSTED whoopee cushion - complete with picture of registered inspector. Slip it under someone's chair cushion and the words "generally sound" come out in rasping flatulent tones as he sits down. Mass hilarity. No staffroom is complete without one.
Pounds 4.99, OFSTED Inflatables Plc.
Inflatable Chief Inspector - life-size balloon of Chris Woodhead. Blow it up, let go of it and watch him fizz round and round the room until empty. Hours of harmless therapeutic fun.
Pounds 14.99, OFSTED Inflatables Plc.
For head teachers:
League-table mirror - highly polished mirror with tasteful mahogany surround. Hold it underneath any league table of school examination results, truancy scores or whatever, and hey presto! Suddenly, in the reflection, the bottom schools come top of the league. No action plan needed. Saves months of anguish.
Pounds 19.99, Tricky Stats Co.
Gone to the Dogs (Volumes 1-10)
Rhodes Boyson's thesaurus of comments on examination results. Handy for when GCSE and A-level results come out each August. Contains several thousand well-known phrases and sayings, going back to Chaucer's time and beyond, meaning "standards have fallen". Includes useful variants like "standards have fallen, for sooth" (Shakespeare) and "Ye country has gone to ye dogs" (Henry VIII).
Pounds 29.99 per volume, Blusterbooks.
Was l Bloody Brilliant, or Was I Bloody Brilliant?
Kenneth Baker's modest account of how he reformed education, climbed Everest wearing only a jockstrap, and scored 17 goals during extra time to win the World Cup for England in 1966. Now remaindered, so bumper value.
49p, Fantasy Island Publishers.
Any group of up to 20 school governors can play. All you do is feed in the topics on the agenda, like "headteacher's report" or "financial forward p)an", and the computer generates a totally fictitious record of the business. Why waste valuable time on a meeting? You simply turn up for the tea and biscuits and let the head and chair make up the minutes, as they would have done anyway!
Pounds 29.99, Machiavelli Interactive Technology.
Brilliant CD-Rom game making the very best of new interactive technology. Superb graphics and musical sound effects. You will never again need to write another mission statement, school policy statement or action plan. Simply key in a title. The program automatically writes you a document of any desired length in fluent Kwalispeak. Even native speakers of Kwalispeak cannot tell it from the real thing. ("It certainly delivered my baseline kwality objectives in a very downsized, cost-effective and time-constrained manner", Mr I Robot-Automaton, headteacher, Conveyor Belt High School). Pounds 99.99, Kwality Games Inc.
CHRISTMAS ON TV
Carry on Nursery Voucher
All the old favourites from the Carry On team are back on screen again.
This time, nursery school head Sid James, desperate to pass muster on his "desirable learning outcomes" and qualify for nursery vouchers to pay off his gambling debts, tries to impress a team of three-day-trained nursery inspectors led by Kenneth Williams. Pure farce.
Reggie Ofsted - Kenneth Williams Desperate Dan - Sid James Gillian Shephard - Hattie Jacques John Major (as a boy and as a man) - The Krankies POST-CHRISTMAS QUESTIONS Question: I must say that a lot of the flak aimed at politicians is, in my view, unjustified. We have just sent out letters of invitation for our prize-giving in the new year, and the first three acceptances came, by return of post, from the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat candidates. It makes you wonder what drives these public-spirited people if they can find time in a busy schedule to come to our school.
Answer: A general election.
Question: My grandmother used up turkey leftovers in a nourishing dish called Shephard's pie. Do you have the recipe?
Answer: The key ingredient of Shephard's pie is the right wing, which determines the content of this dish. Take the right wing, surround it with vegetables, allow to simmer but not to boil. Smile all the while, but watch that the top doesn't get too crusty. Serve with marshmallow and fruitcake.
Question: My two-year-old son got a box of marzipan chickens for Christmas. The trouble is, he doesn't like marzipan, so he pulled all the heads off and now nobody else wants to eat them. What on earth can I do with a load of headless chickens?
Answer: Run the country.