Hugh Laurie as Bertie Wooster and Stephen Fry as Jeeves in the 1990s Granada TV series
Wooster: I say Jeeves, this Aberdeen Angus Gove chappie certainly seems to be sorting the nation’s education out with a bit of a whizz and a bang! According to his latest speech there’s going to be more exciting experiments to do in school science. Sounds like we’ll soon all be jolly clever again and take up our rightful place as best in the world in everything! Of course, speaking personally, I couldn’t do with any more education. I was full up years ago!
Jeeves: If you say so, sir.
Do I detect a note of incredulity in your voice Jeeves? I mean these lucky young blighters will be doing more practical work and learning more about British History, and really having to knuckle down to it if they are going to get to University. Tally Ho! I say. In my day it was all reading stuff from textbooks and writing long and boring essays.
Come on then Jeeves, out with it. I’m all agog to know what’s going on in that inscrutable mind of yours?
Well sir, it’s just that I can’t help noticing that although science lessons will as you say include more experiments, what will really count is an ability to write an essay about them sitting alone in the school hall. So actually being good at collaborative, practical work in the way that real scientists have to be won’t matter very much. Oh, and perhaps you ought to know that Elizabeth Truss recently made a speech in which she advocated a return to the use of proper traditional textbooks instead of worksheets.
Ah, well yes, I suppose I hadn’t thought about it that way. As for this loony Truss woman, she’ll get no support from me.
I should think not, sir. And it’s not just in science either. I mean, asking A level Art students to write an essay seems to be a tad inappropriate, to say the least.
You mean essays in Art are where you’d really draw the line, eh?
Oh, very droll, sir.
And what’s this I read in the old Daily Twittergraph? Seems this Hoover chappie Dyson is really sucking up to Gove – He says he’s ‘looking forward to helping shape the new Design and Technology GCSEs’. I jolly well think there will be quite a bally lot of hot air expelled when he realises that all that will involve is deciding what our budding young entrepreneurial designers will have to write an essay or two about.
Quite so, sir. And the problem is that simply making something harder to achieve doesn’t actually mean that everyone will get better at doing it, does it? All it means in practice is that more children will fail to achieve the necessary standard.
Point jolly well taken. Still I suppose there’s always work for the unfortunate outcasts down the mines. What?
If you say so, sir.
Well there’s only one thing to do about it Jeeves. If we’re going to put an end to all this rot I shall have to send this blithering imbecile Gove a strongly worded note. Have you got your telegraph pad handy? Take a message: @MichaelGove Emplore you rethink current policies STOP Stop talking through your hat STOP Just stop everything you are doing at once STOP Advise immediate resignation STOP There, if that doesn’t do it, nothing will.
Indeed, sir. I’m very much afraid probably nothing will. However, I’ll attend to the matter at once sir.
Well I’ll be dashed! Would you believe it? I’ve just been reading this short story called ‘The Custody of the Pumpkin’ by this PG Wodehouse novelist writer chappie, and there’s a line here that reads ‘It has never been difficult to distinguish between a Scotsman with a grievance and a ray of sunshine…’ That seems to rather well describe this pompous rotter Gove down to a tee doesn’t it? And it would make a jolly good line to end a post about his policies with, wouldn’t it?
Indubitably it would, sir.