Lesson 55. Subversion Skills

Lesson 55 on Learning to play the game

When central government first began to muscle in on professional autonomy in English state education, it did so by funding its favoured initiatives.  These were promoted through supportive (or opportunistic) local authorities and through national conferences run by HMI.

My local authority organised a meeting for headteachers, with a three line whip, so that they could all be corralled in one place and cajoled into taking up the latest wheeze.

It took place in the expensively refurbished Civic Centre’s meeting chamber, which heads usually took every opportunity to avoid.

Miss Hilary, a doughty old primary head of many years standing, had tried every excuse in the book not to attend, but the new director had outwitted her. It was beneath her dignity to call in sick.  She had not been sick since the dawn of time.

After the courtesy tea and buns the assembled company settled down to an hour of polite boredom. At the end of his sales pitch for the current pet scheme the director paused for questions.  There were none.  In desperation he looked round the room for any sign of interest.  Miss Hilary was looking attentively in his general direction

“Miss Hilary, you look as though you might have a question,” he prompted encouragingly.

“Why yes Director!  I do as it happens.” A short pause to gain everybody’s attention. “I was just wondering where you got your new curtains!”

Old Guard 1  New Broom 0


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