What if Senior Managers Told the Truth?

March 28, 2009

Good morning.

Before we start our first INSET session today I am going to waste ten or fifteen minutes with introductory remarks. This is because nobody else wanted to do this and we had some time to fill this morning. To begin with I’d like to start by saying that I am very happy about much of what I have seen happening at the school this term. I am particularly happy about my pay-rise and my fact-finding trip to study teaching methods in the Bahamas. I have been less happy to see that people have noticed that no child ever does a detention. I am also concerned that the biscuits at governors’ meetings have changed from bourbons to custard creams.

Our main focus for INSET today will be teaching and learning. By “teaching and learning” I mean a bunch of ridiculous gimmicks that nobody sees the point of or actually has time to do but which we are convinced OFSTED will be looking for.

Firstly, I will go through the schedule for today, even though nobody really cares about any of it except when lunch is and how early we can go home.

Our first session will be with our least stupid assistant head. He will drone on about using data. During this session some graphs will be shown to suggest that we aren’t doing too badly, and to suggest some targets that will never be met. It will be heavily implied that if the targets aren’t met then it will be your fault.

Our next session will be about some nonsense known only by its initials. This will be led by an incompetent middle manager who we had to promote out of harm’s way. You will expected to incorporate what you learn into your lesson plans for the next six months, when it will be replaced by some other initiative with a different set of initials.

After this we will break for tea and coffee. We will expect you to hang around outside the hall complaining about how bored you are, discussing what was the silliest INSET task you ever did, and speculating as to whether we will finish early.

Then we will send you to your departments to carry out some mind-numbing task vaguely related to the waffle you have heard. In case you ignore the instructions and try and do something useful instead we will insist you report back after lunch. Whichever member of your department is least able to avoid it will be expected to present something to the rest of the staff. We don’t care what they say, so long as the whole session takes up at least 45 minutes.

In our final activity, we will all write platitudes about what kind of learners we want our school to produce and our most stupid assistant head will read them out. Nobody will suggest we want them to be “clever” or “academic”. Finally I will return from my office to announce what a successful day it has been.

Before we begin I’d just like to say a few words about the members of staff who are leaving today. You’re all bastards. Thank you.



  1. “but which we are convinced OFSTED will be looking for.”

    Seems to be the guiding principle for all school management. I have yet to see a new initiative that wasn’t introduced either for funding or Ofsted-pleasing reasons.

    It would be nice to see educational reasons quoted as the reason for any change, but I won’t hold my breath.

  2. The most annoying part (in my experience) is that when OFSTED do inspect they invariably aren’t looking for anything like the initiative, and even criticise the school for doing it.

  3. I loved this post when I first read it. Re-reading it I find I must be sickening for something. It really upset me.
    Nobody will suggest we want them to be “clever” or “academic”.

    Isn’t this sad -we know it’s true. We’re supposed to identify ‘gifted & talented’. I even saw something about a 5-10% target – ridiculous. But clever, intellectual or bookish are insults if ever they’re used at all. There should be a target for finding the expected 2-8% clever portion of the school population. Gifted/talented should be 0-2% in any one school.

  4. Hahahahhaha!
    How I’ve missed the internet. Still at least I’ve got two to read at once :)

  5. This is hilarious because it’s true (I think Homer (Simpson) coined that phrase).

    But what I would like to know is: do SMT actually have faith in things like this? Do they not remember standing outside at break with a cigarette and coffee moaning about wastes of time like this before they scaled the management ladder?

  6. You omitted obligatory, redundant and stultifying PowerPoint presentations. I am a recent survivor of a 5-day marathon of PD (professional development)

    I thought I was going to die. Actually there were times when I wished I could die.

  7. Would love to pin this up on staff noticeboard…Professional suicide?

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