Nicky Morgove – In The Nick Of It


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All Change Please! has somehow managed to obtain a transcript of a new BBC spoof ‘fly on the wall’ documentary intended as a replacement for the successful political satire ‘In The Thick Of It’ series. Here’s an excerpt…

Narr: “It’s the first day of term at the DfE Free Academy. As all the staff were made redundant at the end of last term, everyone is new.”

“Ah, you must be Nick. I’m Nicky Morgove, the new Headteacher.”

“Hi Nicky, yes I’m Nick. Pleased to meet you.”

“Nick, have you seen Nick yet? He’s late, and I think we all need to meet up together.”

“Hey Nicky, it’s me Nick!”

“Ah Nick. Great. You got here in just the nick of time.”

“Yes, and sorry I may have nicked your parking space.”

“So, Nick, let me introduce you to Nick.”

“Hi Nick!”

“Gosh, what have you done to your face?”

“Ah, I nicked myself while shaving this morning. I haven’t quite got the knack yet.

“OK, let’s begin. What are your thoughts Nick?”

“Well, without appearing to take the Mickey Gove, education seems in pretty good nick to me.”

“So, that’s a tick then?”

“Oh, hold on a moment, I’ll have to take this call. It’s from Clegg. Hi Nick!”

“This is going to get confusing isn’t it, I mean with us all being called Nick?”

“Yes, I agree. But I’m not going to get my knickers in a twist about it.”

“Wait I’ve got an idea. Why don’t we come up with nick-names for each other?”

“Ok. Good idea. Well I’m in charge so I shall be Nicky, but Nick, you can be Nacky, and Nick, you can be Noo. How about that?”

“Err. Where did you get the idea for those monikers from?”

“Well according to my intern who has just looked it up on the interwebworld thingy, the original phrase was used by Ken Dodd in the 1960s and went: ‘Nick nack nick nack nicky nacky noo’.”

“Is your intern called called Nick, by any chance?”

“No, actually, he’s a Dick.”

“Ah, Nicky, I was going to say – about the GCSE English set texts. I think all students should have to read Nicholas Nickleby, don’t you?”

“Yes, that’s a great idea!. Oh, in that case I also suggest A level students should study Lemony Snicket?”

“Well that’s all good then.  And quite enough work for today. Now we’re at the DfE I think we all deserve a nice long holiday, just like the teachers get. I’m off to Nicosia. I shall probably buy lots of souvenirs – I just can’t resist those little nick-nacks. And I’m looking forward to wearing my nice new Nike trainers and going off for lots of picnics.”

“Hmm – sorry, but there’s a slight problem with that in that someone will need to be here during August to explain either why lots more students than usual have failed their exams, or why the results have been massaged to make it look like they improved as a result of Gove’s reforms.”

“Being a bit pernickety aren’t you Nick? I mean, there’s no need to panic.”

Well it’s just that Dave has said we have to be nice to teachers, not nasty, Nick.”

“Gosh, this is going to be more difficult than I expected. Anyone got a cigarette? I really need some nicotine.”

“No, sorry. Smoking makes me sick, Nick. But you can have a bite of my Snickers bar if you like.”

“There’s something else I’m a bit concerned about, Nick. How do you think teachers will react when they discover we all went to private schools?

“Well, let’s just not mention it and hope no-one notices?”

“Err, I’m afraid it seems they already have…”


You just couldn’t make it up, could you? Anyway, at this point thankfully All Change Please! realises it just can’t take it anymore and leaves the room, takes its medication and has a refreshing cup of tea and a nice quiet lie down in a darkened room.

So, finally, hands up anyone who remembers John Patten? He was another somewhat deranged and abrasive secretary of State For Education who was in office from April 1992 until he was sacked on the 20th July 1994 – exactly 20 years ago.

Oh, and an extra mark for anyone who can name Michael Gove’s predecessor, who had a wider role, the good sense to leave things much as they were, and was in post from June 2007 to May 2010?

And one Special Scholarship Extension Question for Michael Gove only – Read this news item and write an essay entitled ‘Oh, dear what can the matter be‘ in which you describe exactly how it feels like to be seen as a complete and utter failure.


Image credits: Wikipedia, Flickr, and Wikipedia and Flickr



They Think It’s All Gover…

Just eight minutes before the end of extra time and a mighty roar rings out across the length and breadth of the land as teachers discover that Michael Gove is no longer in charge of education. England might not have won the World Cup, but at least Gove has been relegated, sent off, excluded, expelled, and hopefully given a lifetime ban from entering any structure in which education is taking place. Schools can now start to prepare for a long summer of content.

So what were you doing when you heard the news?” teachers will be asking each other in decades to come. July the 15th 2014 will long be remembered as the day thousands of children and teachers were liberated from Gove’s tyrannical four year reign.

Well, ding dong, the wicked Gove is gone. And isn’t it good to know that Cameron has clearly shuffled the cabinet entirely in the interests of the country, and not in any way an attempt to gain more votes in the next election. And that although Gove has gone from education, he certainly won’t be forgotten as apparently he will be making regular appearances on TV and Radio in his new role as Team Cameron’s ‘Ask Gove’ Media Minister.

I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone…*

So it also seems we must also bid farewell to Little Ms No Support Truss and wish her, well, in her new post. The truth is that All Change Please! was rather fond of her, or rather that is of making fun of her speeches, and particularly as in ‘There’s No supporting Truss’. And while Truss’s departure is good news for education, it’s doubtless bad news for the environment.

(*The geriatrics amongst us will of course immediately recognise the reference to Elvis Presley’s 1955 Sun studio recording)

And no more ‘Hancock’s Half-hour jokes either – Matthew Hancock is off to become Minister of state for energy, business and, err.. Portsmouth?

“There is a plan, and I’m part of it…”

Well it’s definitely a case of All Change Please! at the DfE for next term. But the really interesting question is exactly who is this plucky Ms Nicky Morgan (age 41¾) and why doesn’t she have a more interesting and unusual name that All Change Please! can easily make pun of?

Her approach will be interesting to watch as it unfolds. In order to extend her career into the next parliament, she has just ten months to persuade all those disillusioned teachers to vote Conservative, but at the same time not be seen as a so-called ‘soft minister’. Well, it seems we had perhaps better get on our knees and start praying:

Hmm. Not of course that All Change Please! has anything against committed Christians, providing they just refrain from imposing their beliefs on others – not of course that an Education Secretary would ever dream of doing such a thing. We will just have to wait and see if RE becomes a compulsory Baccalaureate GCSE subject.

Meanwhile Ms Morgan is a former solicitor and has worked as a corporate lawyer specialising in mergers and acquisitions, so we will doubtless  see various Academies and Free Schools being acquired and merged. Oh, and you had better watch out if you are gay.  However, apparently her husband is an architect, so perhaps schools of the future will have a few more curves in them.

But wait. All is not lost. Back in 1966 there was an excellent ‘New Wave’ film entitled ‘Morgan A Suitable Case For Treatment’, so let’s welcome Nicky Morgan ASCFT…


So who is replacing Truss and Hancock? It seems like Nick Glibb is making an unwelcome return, and here’s DfE newcomer Nick Boles, who has been appointed as minister of state at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Department for Education, to include equal marriage implementation, so that should go down well with Ms Morgan ASCFT.

JUST A MINUTE…. Surely that means that the DfE is now being run by Nicky, Nick and Nick…? Or as All Change Please! realises to its absolute delight ‘Nicky, Nacky Noo’, as it will now refer to them as!

And finally, in case you missed it last week, here’s a final chance to show your feelings for the dearly departed Michael Gove..

and to wonder if its popularity had anything to do with today’s announcement?

No, Stop Messing About!



As readers of a certain advanced age will know, Kenneth Williams was a cast member of the popular 1950s radio programme Hancock’s Half Hour.  And that his catch-phrase was ‘No, Stop Messing About’.  Fast forward some 55 years and the cast members of Matthew Hancock’s Half Hour seem intent on doing what they know how to do best: messing about with education.

Further to the examples they recently gave of their plans for new world-class 19th century vocational education, the DfE has since come up with another to add to woodwork, dressmaking and how to wire up a light bulb.

“In the past, too often they would learn some abstract theory at school. They might describe an engine, for example, rather than actually strip down and rebuild a motorbike. They would then struggle to find work, or an employer willing to give them the training they should have already received”.

Ah yes, good old motor-cycle maintenance. Yes, a lot of employers are currently looking for school-leavers able to plug one end of a computer cable into a motorbike so that the completely closed system can be automatically repaired and fine-tuned. Still All Change Please! supposes such a course might come in useful when they need to ‘get on their bikes’, Norman Tebbit style, to go to look for work in some other country.

Meanwhile, somehow the DfE have been messing about so effectively that they have somehow managed to completely miss this report from from the New Economics Foundation Innovation Institute, which clearly sets out the issues for STEM-related learning.

“The skills crisis is a well-aired issue, but forecasting the skills requirements tends to be based on immediate local or short-term priorities. There is no coherent vision and no national strategy.

The problem has been exacerbated by the rapid technological change that is sweeping through the workplace: 3D printing, robotics, nanotechnology, cloud computing, mobile technology and the internet are causing major disruption in many sectors. New roles are proliferating, while traditional skills are falling out of fashion.

Why, for example, are so many colleges focusing on carpentry and bricklaying and ignoring building information modelling software, which will become compulsory on all government construction projects from 2016?

We should also move away from outdated assessment and qualification models. These create artificial learning levels that can hold back a student’s natural pace of enquiry and development. Learning should be student-led, with the tutor acting as coach and facilitator. It should be grounded in real-life scenarios and placed into context.”

The full report can be downloaded here

And if it had recently heard from its collective brain instead of thinking about nothing else but the possibility of an extended playtime, the DfE would have surely studied this Infographic, provided of course that they had not got it messed up and completely obliterated by sawdust and engine oil.  It presents what it claims will be the 10 most important work skills in 2020. Driven by our increasing longevity, the rise of smart machines and programmable systems, a new media ecology, superstructured organisations and the diversity and adaptability of a globally connected, the skills our current generation of schoolchildren will require include: Sense making, Social Intelligence, Novel and Adaptive Thinking, Cross Cultural Competency, Computational Thinking, New Media Literacy, Transdisciplinarity, a Design Mindset, Cognitive Load Management and Virtual Collaboration. And All Change Please! would like to add its own ‘Quality Long-term Health Care’ for those of us who are actually old enough to remember Hancock’s Half Hour.

Of course no-one knows exactly what the skills of the future will be, but that’s the point – what we need to do is to ensure today’s students know how to acquire new knowledge and be able to learn new skills as they emerge during their lifetime.

In this age and culture of technology, surely what we urgently need is a technology-led rather than academic-led curriculum? Now that really would, as Kenneth Williams might have described it, be ‘Fantabulosa’.

But until that happy event, please DfE, just STOP MESSING ABOUT

And finally, if you haven’t already, do scroll back up to the top and watch at least the first couple of minutes of the video to listen to Kenneth Williams trying to pick up a female-impersonating Hancock…