OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES. The Department's under a lot of pressure these days from the NHS, though the advice is often contradictory. We're supposed to promote outdoor activities as part of the War On Obesity. On the other hand, volatile children hurtling around in an enclosed space can easily clog up AE. We "think around the issues around" outdoor activities for a couple of hours but end up with more questions than answers. How can core rugby skills be taught, and what exactly is core rugby? Should schools really be glamourising violence with "knockout competitions"? And, worse, "deathlons"? Is the zombie horror dance from Thriller by Michael Jackson (who as far as we're aware hasn't been CRB-cleared) more suitable for groups of young people than, say morris dancing? We're about to send off our thoughts when Caz spots that "deathlon" is simply a typing error and should read "decathlon".
RESOURCES. We're proposing a Rainforest Day to conserve Earth's Precious Resources. Ideas include shutting up about rainforests for 24 hours, thus curbing CO2 emissions. And not publishing any Ecosystem In Crisis reports, thus moderating demand for paper.
ROUNDERS. Scary Paula, our performance assessor, makes an unscheduled appearance just as we're team-bonding with an impromptu game of Indoor Rounders. It's a bit embarrassing as a) we're using a draft White Paper rolled up as a bat and b) she's hit in the face with the ball, which is actually just a scrunched-up memo from c) her. Nevertheless, she looks quite pleased with herself in a grim sort of way. She's been smouldering ever since we dodged her downsizing plan by forming a quiz team and getting on Eggheads. "Sorry to disturb your very important thinking," she says with a hollow laugh. "I have some news ..."
NEMESIS. As Paula is civil service, she's being briefed by the Shadow Futures Delivery Taskforce, "who may well be operating from this very office next year. Though perhaps with less emphasis on indoor games ..." Oh yeah, Team Gove's think tank. Their Eggheads team - Blue Sky Nemesis - is appearing two weeks before us. Upstairs are impressed with the way we're talking up the TV quiz as a public platform for educational thinking. "So much so," beams Paula, "that I've persuaded them to use Eggheads as a performance indicator. If Blue Sky Nemesis do better than you, this think tank will be disbanded. IMMEDIATELY. Oh, must dash, I have an appointment with the incoming Curriculum Tsar ..." Paula may think she's clever, but she's not appearing on Eggheads, is she? AND kicking Blue Sky Nemesis' arse, fingers crossed.
VOCABULARY. Problem: how to discourage the overuse of "wowtastic" words in primary English assignments. Solution: stop using words like "wowtastic". Inchworm.