Education secretaries may come and go, but All Change Please! goes on forever. Yes, exactly five years ago today, as All Change Please! hit the Publish button for the very first time, it was someone called Ed who was making a Balls up of education. And today, in our distopian post-Govian nightmare, it’s Teacher’s Friend Nicky Morgove and opposition spokesperson Tristram (no relation) Hunt who are carrying on the long tradition of knowing so much more about how to improve standards in schools than anyone else who has actually ever done any real teaching.
As is usual for this date each year, All Change Please! takes the opportunity to look back and wallow in the success of some of its most popular posts.
Top of the Posts for the last 12 months has to be One Small Step in which it dared to suggest that perhaps traditionalists and progressives should put away their differences and focus on communicating a more coherent and united message to its Daily Mail-reading armchair critics. ‘One Small Step’ was of course a follow-on to All Change Please!’s second most read (or at least most clicked-on) post: Daisy, Daisy.. in which it attempted to counter the myths regularly being de-bunked by traditional teachers by identifying some myths of its own.
Meanwhile on the comedy circuit, What Ho! Gove was a hit, a very palpable hit, along with PISA Takeaways and the Chandler-inspired Curriculum Noir: Who stole the Arts, not to mention There’s No Supporting Truss. And speaking of Ms Truss, did you see her hilarious stand-up routine at the Tory Party Conference? And to think, just a few months ago she was an education minister.
Along the way, All Change Please! managed to come up with a few good one-liners too, such as:
“Meanwhile outside on the school field someone was quietly stringing together a Daisy chain of academies”.
And while discussing the need for urgent debate on the future of On-line Computer Learning Systems:
“…or, as Timothy Leary didn’t put it in the 1960s: ‘Sit down, switch on and shut up!’
Or on the current debate about traditional and progressive teaching methods:
“At the end of the day/lesson, the debate should not really be focused on whether traditional teaching is any better or worse that so-called progressive teaching, but simply whether traditional and more progressive methods are being applied well or badly in the classroom.”
Then following the proposal that retired politicians, lawyers and bankers should be recruited as teachers:
“Meanwhile 2020All Change Please! would like to propose a parallel scheme in which recently retired teachers would be retrained as politicians, lawyers and bankers in attempt to sort out the complete mess the country is currently in.”
Or on the need for some magic to return to our classroom:
“As I drove, I found myself recalling the words of that great crime writer Raymond Chandler that somehow seemed to sum it all up:
“Without magic, there is no art. Without art, there is no idealism. Without idealism, there is no integrity. Without integrity, there is nothing but production.”
Because that’s exactly what our schools have become – factories of mass produced memorisation of out-dated facts. What’s needed right now in education is a little bit of real magic and a lot less political sleight of hand.”
This is what Alas Schools and Journos! had to say about PISA statistics:
“But I thought the reason the Chinese and South Koreans did better than us was because they only put their cleverest children in for the test?
Exactly. That just goes to show how much smarter they are than us, doesn’t it?”
And here’s Bertie Wooster:
“You mean essays in Art are where you’d really draw the line, eh?”
What Ms Truss didn’t say out loud in her Policy exchange speech:
“This is just so much fun isn’t it? All I have to do is to speak these words out loud and it will all just happen as if by magic. Won’t it?
And a quiet moment of self-reflection:
“When it was young, all All Change Please! wanted to do was to change the world. And as it grew into middle age it still wanted to change the world, although it had decided that changing education would probably be enough to be getting on with for now. And now, as it eases into retirement and becomes ever closer to being no more than a long forgotten series of ones and zeros drifting blissfully unaware in The Cloud, it still has vague hopes that someone, somewhere is still reading its rants and raves.”
And finally, in response to The Gove Legacy… it seems there has been a reported sighting of Michael Gove. He obviously needs help, urgently…
Image credit: Flickr/Itdemaartinet