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What do they mean...

From next September, every schoolchild will have one these: it has been orderised from above. On the face of it, this latest directive requires us to treat our charges as individuals, recognise their strengths and weaknesses, and teach them accordingly. This will come as a shock to those of us who hadn't realised that the sticky amorphous mass smelling of bubble gum to be found in every classroom can actually be separated into 30 or so different parts, each with its own unique ability to make a teacher's life fulfillingintolerable.

We at St Jude's are proud to say that we have been individualising for years. It is a matter of honour to us that we know all our pupils' names and, crucially, the details of their police records. It helps no end, when guiding students to realise their potential, to know which ones are good at climbing drainpipes (PE), which ones can con money out of people (English), and which ones can blow up the police station (chemistry). It is also vitally important to know which ones can hit a teacher with a brick from 30 paces (we get a cash handout from the England cricket team for these).

The reality of this new initiative is more insidious. It is nothing less than part of a sinister government plan to strengthen Britain's ties with the US by making all its young citizens speak like George W Bush. So, when the US charges off into its next Middle East adventure, the United Kingdom will ring to the rallying cry of its glorious leader: "England expectorises every man to do his duty".

timhomfray@aol.com

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