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Barrie Hudson column: Education chief deserves 1,000 lines for crazy idea
NEW rules are to force young people to stay on in education if they fail to reach adequate GCSE standards in English and Maths.
I can already hear some of you cynics out there grumbling.
“What a ridiculous idea,” you’re saying. “What a blatant attempt to paper over the cracks that Whitehall underfunding has kicked into the education system over the years.
“Let’s make the kids we’ve been failing since they were in junior school suffer the humiliation of being kept back and reminded that they’re substandard.
“While we’re at it, let’s make them feel it’s somehow their fault. As plans go, it’s about as moral as building a house from cat droppings, painting it to look like bricks and mortar and then penalising the buyer when the place falls down.”
Not me though. I wouldn’t dream of being so cynical or untrusting of our rulers, or of suggesting that they care more about being seen to do something than about actually doing anything worth so much as an attack of flatulence in a high wind.
Making already demoralised and demotivated young people stay behind clearly makes much more sense than, say, a voluntary scheme offering basic literacy and numeracy with some dignity thrown in. My only suggestion is that the principles behind these changes should be extended to people in other walks of life who are also falling behind.
There are many people – including adults in highly responsible, vital roles – whose lack of certain basic skills means they’re unable to function properly.
Just as teenagers will benefit from being kept in to redo their English and Maths, so these older people will benefit from being kept in to acquire their own missing aptitudes.
Train company bosses are a typical example.
Many of them are so lacking in the ability to be train company bosses that the services they provide are often late, cancelled or prone to breaking down.
They deserve to be treated with compassion rather than contempt, however.
That’s why they should each be compassionately herded into the filthiest of their own carriages, have the doors compassionately welded shut behind them, be fed on nothing but their own company’s buffet food and remain there until the service matches the ticket prices.
Supermarket bosses would also benefit immensely from this form of tough love.
Instead of condemning them when their burgers and lasagne are found to contain horse, dog, antelope or whatever, we should simply put them in a cage in the corner of one of their own shops with a box of plastic farm and zoo animals.
Every day a teacher should enter the cage, hold up one of the animals and ask the boss to identify it.
This procedure should continue until the supermarket goes a full year without anything appearing in the food that isn’t mentioned on the label – or for as long as it takes the supermarket boss to tell the difference between a cow and a duck-billed platypus.
I envision extending this fantastic idea still further.
We could hold power company bosses in walk-in fridges until they work out a pricing structure that ensures people are able to heat their homes property.
Or chain judges to lamp posts in the middle of crime-stricken neighbourhoods until they appreciate just whose side they’re supposed to be on.
Or hold Whitehall education department bosses in classrooms next door to the English and Maths kids until they come up with a single sensible idea.
Or make a certain senior education figure write a thousand lines a day: “I must stop coming across as a preposterous, nasty little goblin with nothing useful to say.”