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Friday, 24 May 2013

Boys with Absent Dads (BAD)

Choice Farm Academy in Tottenham has harnessed the feral energy, anger and deranged sense of entitlement of some of its most challenging male students.
The London riots of 2011 were Tottenham’s darkest hour and, unfortunately, many of Choice Farm Academy’s boys were involved. Headteacher Ken Kennington realised there was a serious issue in need of urgent attention. “Males get angry, it’s what we do, I’m angry right now. The difference between me and these boys is that I have learned to control my anger through a combination of bikram yoga and Jesus. They on the other hand might require sedatives or a good chat.”
Upon their return to school from police custody the boys worked intensively with an art therapist, Jean Fletcher, to get to the root cause of why they were such obnoxious dicks. Many of them produced art work which revealed the lack of a consistent male presence in their lives and a crisis in young masculinity which schools need to tackle.
On this advice Choice Farm Academy has set up BAD (Boys with Absent Dads) a support group for horrible boys who are encouraged to get in touch with their sense of isolation and rejection by covering public buildings with their “anger-graffiti”.
One of the BAD boys Declan Bennet-Frazier described how the programme had helped him. “During the riots yeah, I had a fuckin wicked time yeah. I got an X-box, a foot spa and a fuckin toaster blood. I now know that was disrespectful to Currys and that I only done it cos I aint got a dad”.
To celebrate a successful year of therapy the BAD boys have been asked to design a letterhead for Choice Farm Academy. Photographs of the winning design will appear in the Tottenham News Shopper in July.

A touching example of the BAD boys' work

Socrates was ‘inadequate’, research reveals.

Educationalists at the University of Carterton’s Centre for Learning claim to have found shocking new evidence regarding the well-known classical sage, Socrates.

‘We have been studying the Socratic Dialogues for months now,’ said Jenny Marwick, Professor of Progress Studies. ‘We expected to find regular, in-built progress checks. But they were just not there. No traffic lights, no thumbs-up or thumbs-down, nothing. Put simply, Socrates did not check progress.”

As educational archaeologists at dig-sites in Athens search frantically for fragments of card sorts, lollypop sticks or other evidence that Socrates did in fact promote rapid progress through active and independent learning, hope is fading fast. ‘The new ONSTED observation schedule is categorical on the importance of progress checks,’ says Jenny Marwick.  ‘We may therefore have to accept the simple fact that Socrates was inadequate.’

The implications of the findings are potentially huge. The fear is that Plato, who was famously line-managed by Socrates and who recorded the dialogues, may have been influenced by his mentor’s disregard for progress. ‘If this is the case,’ says Marwick, ‘then Plato was probably inadequate too. Given that Plato is usually regarded as the father of Western philosophy, this would throw into doubt everything we think we know about life and the universe.’

Marwick’s team recommend the immediate removal from schools of all works associated with Socrates and Plato. ‘In fact, it’s probably safest to remove any material that predates the publication of the new ONSTED schedule.’

Some academics, however, have come to Socrates’s defence. ‘His targeted questioning is really very good,’ said Andrew Cummings, Professor of Learning Sciences at the University of Bridlington’s Department of Innovation and Skills.

Hemlock was too good for him

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Chief Inspector releases inspection guidelines

On arrival an inspector expects the following
1.    The teacher will greet the inspector with awkward non-sequiturs, thinly disguised defensiveness and a shrill speaking voice. Teachers will adopt a mid-Atlantic accent and say things like “okey dokey” and "fantabulous" to confused students. 

2.    A lesson plan. This should be no less than 4 A4 pages in length and should be arranged in a complicated counter-intuitive grid. Tasks are expected to be idiotic and pointless and pedagogy lazily presented as some kind of super power or pseudo-science. EAL and SEN students will be ignored.

3.    A seating plan. (On a printed off power point slide if possible).This should be out of date and include the names of students who were permanently excluded months ago. There should be at least one student named twice and at least two omissions leading to confusion on their entering the class. Levels will be hastily hand written under students names and must not correspond to levels recorded in teacher's mark book or the school tracker.

4.    Data sheet. This will contain no less than 25 columns of trivia including date of birth, gender, star sign and blood type. It will be colour coded so that teacher ineffectiveness can be tracked and measured.

5.   Teachers should be very nervous with a stale meat casserole smell coming from their armpits, breath and anus. It is a basic expectation that teachers' stomachs will be grotesquely distended with trapped wind.

I'm sweating like a bitch and I've just farted

Learning menus: a breakthrough in student choice

‘Learning menus’, a tool developed at the Forward! Academy in Luton, offer a quick and easy way to replicate consumer choice in the classroom.
Learning menus developer, Jerry Layton, explains, ‘It began when I gave the students a choice of starter activity. Then I thought, why not give them a choice of main course and pudding, too? Now I simply put menus on the desks and circulate taking orders.’
‘We are experimenting with the idea that children would have credits to spend on different items from the menu, with credits being earned for achievement and good behaviour. The cheaper items on the menu would obviously be the timewasting activities devoid of educational value, like word searches and gap fills. We expect that our lower ability students, who at present have relatively few credits, will purchase these items. The highest ability students, by contrast, can opt for the exquisite seven course tasting menu. We call this process ‘differentiation’.’
Sir Ian Munroe, CEO of the Capital Wealth Management Group, sponsor of the Forward! Academy, praised the introduction of learning menus. ‘What’s great is that this system replicates so accurately the conditions of consumer capitalism,’ says Sir Ian, ‘complete with a version of the poverty trap, an integral feature our exciting modern economy.’
Staff at the Forward! Academy have embraced the system. There is fierce competition among teachers for Michelin stars to display on their classroom doors, and the academy’s examinations officer has arranged for exams to be held as buffets in the gym.
Differentiated homework
Homework will be differentiated, too. The cheaper options can be collected from any branch of Maxim Chicken, whilst a choice of organic homework boxes will be delivered to higher-achieving pupils in vans driven by white people with dreadlocks.

Quantitative grading to raise standards for all

An academy chain is to use a controversial and novel technique known as ‘quantitative grading’ to boost results at its schools. The chain of Progression Improvement and Skills Schools (PISS) will inject thousands of A*s, As and level 6s into its data trackers in an effort to raise standards.
The initiative was put forward by the academy chain’s corporate sponsor, a multinational banking group. ‘We simply need more high grades in circulation,’ said Sarah Forbes, Private Banking Consultant at Shitti Group. When challenged on the question of whether quantitative grading would lead to grade inflation, Forbes was adamant. ‘No. It’s not like ‘printing grades’. It’s completely different. This isn’t Zimbabwe.’
‘It does sound dodgy,’ said  Barry Newton, Assistant Head at PISS. ‘But you can trust the banks. I mean, they know what they’re doing, right?’

Quantitative grading will help ensure progress for all

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Books criticised for “teaching from the front”

Leading educationalists have called for the removal of books from Britain’s schools on the grounds that their use has “potentially catastrophic implications for the progress of young learners”. The comment, from Maureen Bismark, lecturer in Child Acquiescence at the University of Carterton, comes in the wake of a fierce parliamentary debate in which Culture Secretary Jed Lennox accused the Prime Minster of being “soft as shite on books”. There was laughter from the back benches when the PM admitted “I like Ian McEwan”.

The current campaign against books is based on the fears of growing number of parents who are concerned that their children are passively absorbing facts and knowledge from books while the books in question sit limply on laps or tables. When pressed on the issue Bismark explained that “books, at best, are nothing more than a convenient method of transferring complex ideas and a huge body of knowledge and learning built up over centuries to potentially any human being on the planet”. She added that “Books do not have any place in 21st century learning and are useless to our children who are now participants in an exciting global economy”. 

Campaigners from the parents’ pressure group BOOKSFUCKKIDS have also criticised the publishing industry for “profiting from the naivety of our most vulnerable citizens while operating in a system with zero checks or balances”.

BOOKSFUCKKIDS will be co-ordinating a number of demonstrations outside Hodder, Pearson and Heinemann publishers this Saturday at 8.00 am. 

An academy in Stevenage disposes of its books. Its corporate sponsor is to supply all students with tablet devices.

Education academics release simple guide to KS3 Levels

Academics at the University of Carterton’s Centre for Learning have released a quick and easy guide to levelling KS3 students.

The guide comes in the wake of complaints by young teachers that allotting levels is an onerous task and part of the unnecessary paperwork that makes teaching these days such a pain in the arse.

The guide has been welcomed by teaching unions. ‘This is exactly the sort of thing teachers require,’ said Tom Rifkin, union rep at the Forward! Academy. ‘It will enable them to level students quickly and, more importantly, very accurately.’

The guide in full:

Level 3
Overweight working-class child

Level 4
Especially pleasant overweight working-class child
Child whose handwriting you can’t be bothered to decipher
Child with a specific learning difficulty you don’t understand

Level 5
Quiet, Muslim girl wearing hijab
Rude, badly behaved child by whom you are slightly intimidated but who seems to like you
Child whose name or face you don’t recognise
Girl with nice handwriting

Level 6
Boy with long, indie-style hair
Quiet, well-behaved Chinese child
Child whose parents gave you a hard time at last parents’ evening

Level 7
Middle-class child

Level 5

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

School offers intensive course in being more middleclass

A school in Hackney has become the first in the country to offer a course in middleclassness.  The Progression Improvement and Skills School (PISS) has introduced the course following the failure of some academically able students to get into top universities.

Units cover a broad range of topics, from ‘Why old houses are better than new ones’ to ‘What kind of pubs are OK to go into’ and ‘People and things to sneer at’.

‘It was confusing to begin with,’ said Katie Adams, a student at PISS. ‘Like, why are pubs better if the chairs don’t match? And why is it bad to have labels on the outside of your clothes and shoes, unless they say Converse or Camper? There were a lot of things I didn’t get.’

Michael Wiggins, Principal at PISS, admits that the course is challenging. ‘The unit on why old houses are better than new ones is especially tough. Students struggle with the idea that this rule doesn't apply in London, where house prices mean that any dwelling down to a disused public convenience or old shipping container may now be considered an acceptable option for a middleclass family, but only if a wood-burning stove is installed and handmade bunting hung.’

There are practical elements to the course, too. Students regularly visit Waitrose, where they are required to show that they can tell the difference between salsify and samphire and that they can be sufficiently patronising to checkout staff, saying ‘I don’t need a bag’ as loudly as possible, while cramming their over-packaged, airfreighted avocados into a wicker basket.

‘We have had some real breakthroughs,’ says Wiggins. ‘Just last week a parent rang me to say that his daughter had persuaded him to get sash windows fitted in their house. He’s taken on an extra night shift to pay for it. Just fantastic.’

It hasn’t all been plain sailing, though. Josie Morris, 15, dropped out of the course after struggling with much of the content. ‘I don’t care what anyone says. Shopping at fifteen different independent shops instead of going to Asda is a massive pain in the arse,’ she complained. ‘Nowhere sells pollock. And goats’ milk tastes like knob cheese.’  For students like Josie, who cannot handle the course, it is back to the mainstream classroom where they can spend the next two years playing on their phones with post-it notes bearing the words ‘Triple Entente’ stuck to their foreheads.

As part of the course students must learn to enjoy glamping in yurts in Wales

Milgram-style shocks to be administered to teachers found telling children stuff

Teachers persistently found telling students about stuff are to face small electric shocks in an attempt to encourage them to desist.

Inspired by the famous Milgram experiment of the 1960s, the Teacher Electric Shocks (TES) differ from those administered during the well-known study in that the shocks are real.

With the ideal teacher to pupil talk ratio now standing at 1:9, some teachers struggle with the idea that they just have to shut up. Mohammed Ahmed from Leeds was one such teacher. He explains, ‘Having a PhD in Nuclear Engineering, I had become arrogant, believing that I had the right to tell students stuff about physics. Since receiving my shocks I know better. The nerve damage to my face makes it difficult for me to talk now, anyway.’

‘What’s great about this technique is that it’s so pupil-centric and democratic’ said Chris Topper, lecturer in Citizenship Education at the University of Carterton’s Centre for Learning. ‘Students have ‘shock pods’ on their desks. As soon a teacher starts talking, students can simply press a button and administer a shock. Of course, the power is completely in pupils’ hands: if a teacher is talking about something that interests the pupils, like Apple products for example, they may choose to let him or her continue.’

Ben Nicholls, a geography teacher at the Student Choice Academy (SCA) in Redditch says that the system has been instrumental in helping him develop into an outstanding teacher.‘To begin with, when I was trying to teach about something like desertification, I would tell the students all about it. Now I don’t say a word. I just put the title on the board and sit there until the kids find out about it for themselves. This can take a while, but eventually someone always looks it up on their phone and then everyone else copies it down.  It’s wonderful to watch.’

The technique is not without its dangers. Last week a history teacher at the Progress for All Free School (PAFS) received a fatal electric shock while trying to explain the Tiananmen Square Massacre to a group of youngsters. She had been speaking for a total of 34 seconds. The coroner reached a verdict of accidental death. ‘It’s sad for her family’, said Paul Rambert, Principal at PAFS. ‘But, ultimately, she and those like her represent a threat to children’s education. It’s better that this threat is eliminated, at whatever cost.’

Scientists say they have split the sub-level

Scientists at Carterton University’s Centre for Learning claim to have split the sub-level. 

The breakthrough was made by a team of educational scientists who have been working on the problem since 2005. ‘We knew there had to be a way to do this,’ said scientist Rupert Hardman. ‘Our initial lab tests indicated that the potential to split the sub-level was there. Now, thanks to technological advances we have finally been able do it.’

The sub-sub-level will allow teachers to pinpoint children’s progress much more accurately, and will do a great deal to ensure that the last traces of spontaneity and individuality are banished from the classroom. 

Though small, these traces are still present in most schools and represent a considerable threat to children.

Hardman warns, however, that the sub-level must be split in a controlled environment. ‘Sub-level fission can unleash an enormous amount of very powerful educational bullshit,’ he said.

Powerful sub-sub-levels are released in sub-level fission procedure

Posh people offered fast-track into teaching

The government has announced further plans to enable posh people to enter the teaching profession without undertaking specific training.

Education Minister Douglas Macintyre said that the move follows the success of the Teach First Program. ‘Obviously,’ he says ‘the primary objective of Teach First was to get posh people into inner-city schools so that some of their poshness might rub off on the poor communities. However, asking for a 2:1 or above is an unrealistic entry requirement for many of the poshest people. That’s why we've decided to offer the Poshtrack Program.’

To qualify for Poshtrack, applicants need only demonstrate hearty enthusiasm and good breeding.  Hetty Broadman, who is nine, is Assistant Head at the North Norwood Progress Academy (NNPA), an inner-city 11-18 comprehensive. ‘I’ve slashed the inclusion budget and redirected it for polo lessons,’ Hetty explains. ‘People think a nine-year-old can’t run a large educational establishment, but it’s easy peasy lemon squeezy. If you’re posh enough, you’re old enough.’

Posh people will have the right to fuck up their degrees and still become teachers.

Academy bans moving backwards

An academy in Luton has banned students and staff from moving backwards. The Forward! Academy (FA) says that the move is a logical step in making its motto ‘Progress forward together as individuals’ a reality.

Karl Harris, Principal at the Forward! Academy, explains ‘We do not tolerate our students going backwards in their learning, so why would we tolerate them going backwards in any other way?’

If individuals leave a room and then realise they have forgotten something, the rules forbid them from going ‘back’ for it. Instead, the individual should walk all the way around the school until they approach the room from a different direction, thus preventing any episode of moving backwards.

‘It can be tough,’ says Katy Hoang, 13. ‘The other day someone came towards me really quickly carrying their dinner tray. I had to push myself against the wall to avoid a collision.’

Physical Education at the Forward! Academy has been adapted to accommodate the change. ‘We no longer offer rowing, high jump or any other sport in which the competitor is required to move in a backwards direction,’ says Head of PE Sandy Hargreaves.  ‘To be honest, I think we will probably be left with running.’

The Forward! Academy has a simple philosophy.