Mel Smith, as the man who thinks he knows everything, and Griff Rhys Jones, as the man who knows he knows nothing, return to catch up on what’s been happening in education, ill-informed as always by the Great British Press.
Smith: Haven’t seen you around for a while then?
Jones: No, not much has been happening recently has it, especially now that Gove chappie has been permanently excluded from schools?
Well, my friend, just wait until you see this in the papers – apparently last summer not nearly as many children managed to pass their GCSEs
Oh, so weren’t they very bright then?
No, no, no, it wasn’t that at all.
All their teachers went on strike then?
No, no. Listen, what happened was that the Tories made the exams they sat much harder to pass. They thought that would make all the kids cleverer.
Oh. That wasn’t a very clever idea then, was it?
And it’s a bit unfair on a whole generation of teenagers who now won’t have as good qualifications as their elders? And I expect all the schools requiring improvement will be given those special tape measures now?
What? Anyway I’ll tell you something else. You won’t believe this. Listen, it says in the paper that apparently a lot of your posh public schools have gone right off the boil and are now at the bottom of all the league tables.
What you mean they are in the Vauxhall league?
Yes, sort of, except it’s now called the Vanarama League.
Vananarama? Is that a new girl-power band or something then?
No, apparently it’s a van leasing company, but that’s not got anything to do with what I’m telling you.
So Eton and Harrow have gone into the van-hire business now then?
No, no, no. Do try and pay attention. It seems their students were all taking the wrong sort of exams that didn’t count in the league tables anymore.
Why were they doing that then?
Because the public schools say the exams their students did were harder than the GCSEs, but the DfE says their new exams are now the most difficult.
Ah, they’re both playing hard to get then?
Yes, I suppose you could say that. Well it just goes to show you only get what you Gove, don’t you? Anyway, what’s more Camoron wants all schools to be above average in Maths. That’s going to be a bit of a challenge. And then there’s this Little Missy Morgan who’s all in a spin and is going to sack headteachers if they don’t improve their children’s literacy.
Well, it’s important kids learn to throw their litter away in a bin isn’t it?
Exactly. And then there’s their numeracy.
What’s that then?
You know – learning their tables.
Oh, you mean like the difference between a dining table and a bedside table? Why’s that important then?
Well I suppose if you went to IKEA, you’d want to be sure you were buying the right sort of table wouldn’t you?
Yes, and they could use those special tape measures to make sure they were getting the right size.
Anyway after the election in May everything will be different when the Greens get in.
Who are these Greens then? Are they from Mars?
No, don’t be daft. Well I don’t think they are anyway – though looking at some of their policies…
You mean our politicians will all be like green vegetables – sort of limp and tasteless and foul-smelling?
Yes, I expect so.
Oh. No change there then?
Anyway, I suppose at least they will have a lot of posh vans and drivers to move them around in.