“The academy pantomime must go on!” says the DfE

Janet Downs's picture

It’s extended pantomime season at the Department for Education. The curtain raises on the Chorus, armed with mobile phones and academy enforcement orders. They sing:

“We’ll burn, burn, burn, and slash, slash, slash,   So contract firms make cash, cash, cash.”

The Jester appears to cheers from the Chorus.

“Academies work!” he shouts.

“Oh, no, they don’t!” yell the audience.

“Oh, yes, they do!” scream the Chorus.

“I have proof,” yells the Jester, “Academy conversion generates a significant improvement in pupil performance.'

The Good Fairy descends from above the stage. “I have news,” she cries, “anything that ministers say about academies should be taken with a pinch of salt.”

“Ha!” cries the Jester, “you are an ideologue, happy with failure, an enemy of promise.”

The Chorus burst into song:

“It’s a bigoted backward bankrupt, Bigoted backward bankrupt, Bigoted backward bankrupt Ideology!”

Audience: “Oh, no it isn’t!”

Chorus: “Oh, yes, it is!”

A disembodied voice speaks, “Figures from your own Department show that academies have not done as well as other schools, especially when those despised vocational exams are removed. And many academies haven’t reached your floor target.”

The Jester sneers. “You’re a Trot! Do you hear me? You’re a Trot! You’re all Trots!”

The Good Fairy waves her wand and the children appear. They sing in unison:

“Conversion is no answer, Conversion is no answer,

Conversion is no answer,  The data shows the truth.”

The Chorus is busy tweeting about how academies outperform other schools and how the Good Fairy has endorsed what they say. But the audience begins to boo. The Chorus leaves.

Time for Cameron’s Shock Troops – they enter the auditorium. At their head is a Free School Pioneer carrying a copy of the Sun on Sunday.

The Jester: “I will force you all. You must obey.”

Enter the Chorus dressed as daleks: “Obey! Obey! Exterminate!”

The Curtain falls as the audience begins to throw rotten fruit.


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