Mel Smith, as the man who thinks he knows everything, and Griff Rhys Jones, as the man who knows he knows nothing, discuss new TV technologies in the 1980s.
Meanwhile, some 30 years later, they are discussing education…
Smith: You know something?
Jones: No, I can’t say that I do really.
Well you know what a terrible mess all our schools are in and how apparently Mr Gove is sorting them out and making them better again.
Oh, is he then?
Yes. I mean ever since the 1960s kids have been just running round doing exactly as they please in the classroom, and no-one ever tells them off or gets them to learn anything. And apparently it’s all been the fault of this ass Neil chap who opened this school called Summerfield.
Oh, was it one of these schools sponsored by a supermarket then?
Yes, that’s it. Anyway apparently at this school all the children went around naked, smoking and drinking, taking drugs and having sex with their teachers. And of course the teachers all realised they were on to a jolly good thing, and so that’s what our schools have been like ever since.
That’s a bit odd. I mean I attended a comprehensive school in the 1970s and it wasn’t at all like that. The teachers were pretty strict and pushed us hard to pass our O levels and CSEs. And my children were at similar schools in the 1990s, and they all wore a school uniform and were expected to do what they were told.
Well I expect you were at a special school of some sort. Well, anyway that’s what it says in the Daily Mail, and they wouldn’t print it if it wasn’t true would they?
No, I suppose not.
Anyway this Gove chap is trying to make sure that in the future all children have an e-Back
What’s that then?
Well, it’s obvious isn’t it. It’s a clever electronic device that you wear and it straightens your back and stops you from slouching around.
Look if you don’t believe me, here’s an article in the Guardian, now they certainly wouldn’t print anything that’s not true would they? According to this Nick Glib, it’s not so much the teacher’s fault, it’s all to do with this secret organisation called The Blob. They believe they come from outer space and are devout followers of this ass Neil. And what they’ve done is secretly taken over all the teacher-training colleges where they just tell new teachers to let the kids do whatever they want.
Is that so? Again that all sounds a bit strange because my daughter has just finished her teacher training course and she says it was all about things like your subject knowledge, how to plan and prepare lessons, manage classes, and use IT.
Well, perhaps she was a bit confused, because that’s not what is says here, is it? Look, here’s some more in the Telegraph. Apparently teachers don’t bother teaching children from poor backgrounds because they are going to be failures anyway. And the proof is that while there are more poor children in places like China and South Korea they still do better than us in the Pizza tests.
Are these tests something they do in their Home Economics lessons, then?
Don’t be daft. No-one does Home Economics anymore. No, they do them in their Food Technology lessons.
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?
You don’t think that all this stuff the journalists write in the papers isn’t really news at all but just right-wing capitalist political propaganda, do you?
Good lord, no. I mean no-one would buy them if it was, would they?