At the chalkface
A fAding photo falls from an Off message? Off trolley? Wrong
old register. Easter 1987. haircut? Wrong culture? A loathing
Who are these alien, smiling of that wretched testing? Or a
people? The grateful dead? member of the nUT? All were.
The Amish? Bolshevicks? Out Who knows? Too glamorous? Too
patients from a Bin? no. The old? Or perhaps too unsightly?
English department BnC – Some chums had to be hidden in
before the national Curriculum. A cupboards on Open Evenings.
happy shambles. Variously gifted, The fear was everywhere.
but always most serious about Someone was always “failing”
teaching and literature. Leavisite, something. They were inspected
socialist, idealist, a bit to destruction by
silly. All gone. consultants with enough
They were criteria to sink Socrates.
“disappeared”. Culled in Until they got sick and
the culture wars of the took to beta-blockers or
noughties. The school booze or blood pressure
was “turned round”, pills. Management had
from a sixties liberal folly them by the modules.
to a modern exam factory. Their desk was cleared
You know how it goes. and they never happened
You need the following. – after 20/30 years. They had Teamwork:Staffordshire
A new demon super done the state some service. studentsgettogripswithwhat
head who is visionary no matter. They were ittakestobeafirefighter
and inspirational bullied, bought out, gagged
– like Putin. new and replaced by 24-year-old
Labour apparatchiks who acolytes. Who cared? no one.
deliver the McCurriculum. A The nUT was summoned. Big
Leadership group who point guns. To no avail.
their power suits at you in grim Thus was the school “turned
Junior firefighters answer the call
briefings. Then threaten you with round”. Like many others. it
ultimatums in a soft and verbless zoomed up league table. Those
purr. Much flash refurbishment. meretricious league tables. The
by Emma Lee-Potter
like communication, teamwork, successfully completed the course pupils benefit hugely from taking
and self-confidence. and got the chance to show off part.
Until the foyer is an iKEA hell new teachers are terrific, hugely Pupils taking part in the 12- their skills at a special passing “it helps to raise their self-
with cut hyacinths and retro chic professional and must work like Overcoming claustrophobia, using week scheme are put forward by out parade at Leek fire Station esteem and self-confidence as well
sofas and plasma screens twitching billyho to “compete in the global cutting equipment, and learning their local authorities and schools. last week. They were also pre- as teaching them the importance
with aspirational vapidities or the marketplace”. dear me, it’s grim. first aid – these are just some of They attend the course for one day sented with special certificates and of social responsibility, working as
dread “desiderata”. The walls too, Corporate culture rules! Some the challenges experienced by every week, learning everything awards. a team, and respecting others,” he
must be festooned with feelgood, look like bankers. Some are Staffordshire youngsters taking part from training and squad drills to for the first time, the group were told SecEd.
fortune cookie cant. bankers. i don’t envy them. Little in a student firefighting project. road traffic accident procedures, also supported during the course by “Parents have been very sup-
Then comes the culling of the freedom. Little control. no union. Like many fire services across hose running and pumping, first two local police community support portive too. One told us that their
teachers. And not a lot of smiling. Unlike the country, Staffordshire fire and aid, and the dangers of arson and officers, who focused on issues like son won a community award after
Which teachers? “Bad my long lost – and sorely traduced Rescue Service runs regular stu- hoax calls. anti-social behaviour and tolerance being involved in this scheme,
teachers!” says Michael gove. – chums of Easters long ago. dent firefighter courses for young- Youngsters who have recently within the community. while another was able to do all the
Cripes! How many? About sters aged 11 to 16. As well as completed the course include a Mick daniels, assistant area right things when a fire broke out in
a hundred. in about 18 months. • Ian Whitwham is a former taking part in practical training, group of 12 students aged between commander for Moorlands, one of the kitchen of his home, closing the
All rubbish? By what criteria? secondary school teacher. discussions and theory workshops, 11 and 13 from schools in Leek, the nine Staffordshire area com- door and leading his mum and dad
the students learn vital life-skills, Werrington and Endon. All 12 mands that run the project, said to safety.”
s and F
20 SecEd • April 2 2009
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