A Week in Education

Michael Shaw

`Twas the week before Christmas, and schools through the nation

Were relieved it was almost the winter vacation.

Videos and games padded out classes' last days

While infants dressed up for nativity plays

(Though some cautious teachers felt there was need

to delay shows to New Year to make way for Eid).

A supply teacher in Oldham got plenty of stick

For telling her pupils not to believe in St Nick.

With one thoughtless comment she gave it away:

"It's your parents who leave presents out on Christmas Day!"

Even The Daily Mail was taken aback

That the teacher - like Santa - was given the sack.

Before teachers went home for their well-earned rests

Came the report on the "shambles" with national tests.

Lord Sutherland's inquiry said blame for the mess

Should be placed mostly on US firm ETS,

Though the QCA's handling was also not right

As their attitude had been, "It'll be all right on the night."

A scapegoat was needed, but who would they find?

Before the report was made public, Ken Boston resigned.

The QCA chief knew he would not last long

And said leaders were responsible "when things go wrong".

The tabloids cared more about the money he got

Plus the moorage in Sydney for his 40ft yacht.

Pupils could improve their calculations and graphs

By studying a new GCSE in double maths.

This ministerial announcement made quite an impression

The Telegraph said topics would include the recession.

But when will this amazing subject be seen?

Oh dear. It won't start till 2017.

The festive spirit did not stifle the moans

Of Woodhead, or Phillips, or Heffer or Holmes.

The columnists railed at plans to change subjects,

Saying they'd make pupils "bovine", dumb and perplexed.

But ignore their rants about teaching - they verge on barking.

Merry Christmas to all - now get back to your marking.

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Michael Shaw

I'm the director of TES Pro and former deputy editor of the TES magazine. I joined the publication as a news reporter back in 2002, and have worked in a variety of journalistic roles including editing its comment and news pages. In 2013 I set up the app version of the magazine, TES Reader, and the free TES Jobs app https://bit.ly/TESJobsapp Michael Shaw

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