Alas! Schools and Journos: Have you ever Bean Green?


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.

2 comments on “Alas! Schools and Journos: Have you ever Bean Green?

  1. So now the big push is towards “intervention” in year seven with pupils who might just manage five A-C grades, regardless of whether or not any of those children have a statement of educational need. Statemented hours are not being met for the most vulnerable of pupils just so head teachers can avoid the chop, it seems. Hmm, smacks of corruption …

  2. “…what’s more Camoron wants all schools to be above average in Maths”

    That is a bit like how the politicians really do think! – If everyone becomes above (or below) average then when and where do we redraw the line for the new average? And then everyone next year has to get above that new line and then re-average everything again,… and so on….

    Apart from the fact that the new exams are different (not necessarily harder, just more unfair to some types of people) in such a way that less people are now passing them, it just compounds or confuses the problem of averaging – there will always be winners and losers and so the evil cycle can continue.

    If I were being more cynical, I would say it’s all part of this government’s cunning plan to undereducate the masses. As a direct result of the policies of this government, it seems ‘on average’ everyone will be getting poorer exam marks for some time to come. Add this problem to the difficulties of going on to higher education (fees, cost of accommodation, cost of living, etc.) and we can start to see how education really is only being channelled for the brainiest or richest of all.

    The rest of us? Well we should just be content with our lot and be glad of our Lords and Masters that know better than us as we scrape a living together in homes that, on average, are beyond the reach of mere uneducated mortals to afford.

    The next thing the government would like to do is get interest rates high again. Ordinary ‘uneducated/unrich’ people will then start to lose their homes and jobs. But, more importantly, the Lords and Masters will once again earn more on their savings and be able to buy up all those spare homes to rent back to us at full market rates so long as we agree to work in their fields, factories and shops while also begging for scraps from their overstuffed wallets – i.e. funding for schools, health care, food – we’re already seeing it!

    Or am I just being too cynical?

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