It’s a gorgeous day, and I don’t even have my camera or my phone to document it, and I feel like someone’s removed something non-essential but fairly useful from me, like my little toes or my ears. It’s shit. I want to take loads of pictures and get giddy with the camera, but I can’t and I’m pissed off. What’s worst is that I’ve not heard anything about it and I really, really need to get my phone sorted before I go to France. The camera, too. I’m mega-pissed off!
Really, I wish I could smack that smarmy little lad in the face, with his quasimodo chin and his strange appearance. I WILL find him, no doubt about that. I don’t hold out much hope from the school who think ipods are an important learning accessory (gimmick!) and I can see that head teacher lasting about as long as bout of diarrhoea – he will either do something grossly stupid, like give 800 kids ipods, or he’ll be the new Asian Wunderkind and be poached by the Government. Seeing as we have a Con-Lib government, though, I can’t see it. On the one hand, being deprived of methods of communication and recording are irritating, believe me, there is some good news in the papers today…
My new favourite Government abolished several quangos yesterday, and, joy of joys, the QCDA was one of them, according to the Sunday Times. The QCDA, previously QCA – the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority – are the people who accused me of breaching security in a test they release into the public 4 weeks before its due to be taken – a test so profoundly difficult that I only ever scored 29/32, a group who employed an ex Met Police officer to head up security, and allowed him to ride roughshod through schools who quake because they cannot say anything. They acted with total impunity, as if they were above the law, and in a way, they were. They were policed by nobody. They answered to nobody. They could force schools to discipline members of staff with no evidence, whilst wasting £17,000,000 on tests that were largely useless at KS3. In the 15 years I taught, under a Labour government for 13 of them, the curriculum became more and more prescriptive, less and less engaging and less and less useful. Yes, teachers in English, Maths and Science had to teach set aspects (although Mr ex-Met seemed to be of the opinion we should not ‘teach to the tests’ despite all the pressure from league tables, Ofsted and schools to do so) and the other subjects carried on regardless. We have a set curriculum and it is monitored. Therefore the tests were redundant as a way of ensuring we had key-stage-stepping-stones. Still, they harped on about their accuracy. I marked Stratford-on-Avon Grammar School for Boys’ papers in 2003 (?!) – and what can you do to me now, Edexcel or QCA or DfSCF or NCA, for revealing this information online??! And despite the obvious talent of the boys, they still didn’t get 18/18 on the Shakespeare paper. How can this be? A fee-paying school in the town which is virtually ‘Shakespeare-World’ and even they can’t get 18/18??! I was an A grade marker. I marked according to the mark scheme. I was agreed with by the DMPL (deputy marking programme leader) and yet they still couldn’t reach the highest marks. And if they can’t, who can??
So… what felt horrendous at the time, walking out of a job because of the absolute lawlessness of QCA (who destroyed the evidence, by the way, that would exonerate me! It’s a bit hard NOT to notice if 280 kids have ‘cheated’, so let’s get rid of the papers so they can never be looked at and agreed they are fair assessments of individuality!) Answer me this, too: if 280 kids get all the answers right in a Singapore school on a maths paper, they’re seen as talented at maths. If 10 kids get most answers right in Wigan on an English paper, it must be ‘cheating’ – if indeed that’s what happened – who knows??! … yes, what felt horrendous at the time has now left me vindicated. They are a waste of taxpayers’ money and good on the Government for getting rid. Hurrah! In fact, now, I was questioned by two organisations who thought they were almighty, and now they don’t exist. “Look upon my works, ye mighty, and despair. Nothing besides remains.”
Becta will also go. Big pointless load of nonsense. I hope the Specialist Schools Trust also goes, after the colossal expense of that shite event I had the misfortune to present at. Aimless, objectiveless, pointless. 300 people wasted a day. At the time, I thought it was me – that I was out of touch. But looking at it, it was worse organised than a church fete organised by village idiots and hiring the Emirates Stadium as a big flashy venue was an utter waste of money. I know people will lose jobs, and that’s sad, but these are people who think its fine to take teachers out of school to tell them they’re shit and then subject them to three days of endless repetitive drivel. It was embarrassing.
So… here’s to Cam-Clegg and all the fat-trimming they may need to do!