Image of an escape

Killing Hope

8.30 am. Early morning raid. Someone phoned the Departmental informers hotline with information about a school still brazenly advertising itself as encouraging 'independent thought and learning', 'respect for individuality', 'tolerance and integrity' and 'emotional maturity and spritual richness'. Thank God there are still some public-spirited people. He was too scared to give his name but gave the school's address, somewhere in Berkshire. Obviously there are still some hippy strongholds out there, but we are hunting them down one by one.

We go in hard. The armoured vans crash through what appears to be the main gateway and we all pile out into an old-fashioned courtyard with a statue of some king or other in the middle . Some ponce in an academic gown and mortar board comes towards us. 'Can I help you gentle - ?' he begins. I club him to the ground and the lads put the boot in.

'I say, that's the headmaster you oiks are beating up,' shouts one peculiar looking kid, chinless, spotty and wearing a straw boater. I grab him by the throat. 'That's sir to you scum', I tell him. My daddy's in the Cabinet', he squeaks. 'You can't treat me like this. You're in big trouble. I'm an incredibly posh Etonian. You'll be working for me one day you know'.

We've been set up. It's that bloody Jeremy Corbyn again. He's phoned the hotline and read out Eton's Aims and Objectives and given us the address and no one checked the info out. We've just raided the school the ruling class send their kids to for fuck's sake. What a monumental cock-up.

I put the chinless wonder down and apologise for the misunderstanding while the lads help the headmaster, Simon Henderson, up from the ground. They wipe away the blood and brush him down. He spits out some teeth but otherwise seems ok, considering.

'Very sorry about all this,' I tell him. 'It's your Aims and Objectives. All the stuff about independent thought. And nothing about getting kids ready for the harsh realities of the world of work. We thought we were dealing with a hippy remnant hiding out in the sticks I'm afraid.'

Henderson is furious. 'Of course we encourage independent thought. Our students are going to run the bloody country, you oaf. And as for all that world of work shit, our students don't have to fucking work. Everyone else works for them. I knew it was a mistake to put a grammar school oik like Damian Hinds in charge at Education. This is what you get when you lower social standards. Wait till I see Theresa May.'

I spend half an hour trying to calm him down but he's still very angry. Eventually we get back into our vehicles and drive away, along a road lined with Etonians in tail-coats, all burning fifty-pound notes to show their contempt for us. Thinking about it makes me wish I'd hit Henderson just that little bit harder.

11 am. Bollocking from Boss Hinds. Didn't know they taught such language at St Ambrose, although, mind you, some of the stories about those Christian Brothers curl your hair. He must have picked the expletives up at Oxford I suppose. I try to defend the lads. 'Look Boss, when you consider the way we bend over for the public schools, surely they can forgive one little mistake. I mean we let them sit easier exams than state schools for a start. What thanks do we get for that? Their kids all sit the IGSE exams while state schools still have to sit Boss Gove's re-vamped toughened up sado-masochist GCSE exams which are much harder and much more stressful.'

'I know, I know,' says Boss Hinds, 'but the whole point of having an education system absolutely founded from top to bottom on the principles of privilege, inequality and social injustice is that you don't go around beating up the staff at Britain's foremost public school even by mistake. The Prime Minister was not amused, especially as she had to put up with a load of moaning about grammar schools from Simon Henderson. We all know what a prick he is, but it must never happen again.'

11.25 am. News from the USA where a teacher in Texas has shot dead a classroom of kids for refusing to stop mucking about. Seems a bit of an overreaction to me but that's America for you. We could never allow teachers to be armed over here. There would be a lot of dead deputy heads if we did. No one likes those bastards. Apparently that moron President Trump has responded to demands for gun control because of the massacre by calling for school kids to be armed! He is completely bonkers.

Noon. Meeting to discuss how we are getting on with implementing Boss May's 'hostile environment' policy in education. Lots of people think it only applies to immigrants from the Caribbean. Of course, they've got the worst treatment, but in fact the policy applies to everyone who isn't rich. If you're rich it doesn't matter what nationality you are. What people don't realise is that it is no good trying to get a handle on government policy by taking anything they say seriously. You have to look at what they do. Take housing for example. All that talk about 'right to buy' is just so much crap. For most people the government's policy is a return to slum housing with a growing number of rough sleepers. On the one hand there is what ministers say and on the other there is what is actually happening. Same with the NHS. The government says it loves and supports it while in practice it is dismantling and privatising it piece by piece. And as far as education is concerned the government talks about equality of opportunity while entrenching privilege and inequality like never before. State schools are relentlessly being made more oppressive, just exam factories with the student experience becoming increasingly unpleasant. And as for the cuts! Well, there are schools where parents have to provide the toilet paper. Who would ever have thought that we could get away with that? Hard to believe that people are so stupid. They just can't see what we are doing right in front of them. But there you go.

One of our current strategies to advance the 'hostile environment' policy in education is to eliminate experienced teachers from the schools. We've been trying to drive out everyone over fifty for a while now ('capability' issues and the like), but now Boss Hinds wants us to go after those over forty. Partly it's because young teachers are cheaper but, more importantly, really it is an attempt to destroy the teaching profession's memory. We want to get rid of all those teachers who have any memory of schools having ever been different. There are still some teachers in state schools who remember things like music lessons, drama lessons, etcetera, and refuse to acknowledge the dominance of the 'fronted adverbial'. They've got to be rooted out and replaced by fresh, young, naïve, inexperienced and vulnerable staff who have no memory of education ever having been anything other than misery. Older teachers often have ideas way above their social station as well, like expecting to own their own homes and have a decent pension. New teachers think they are lucky to be able to rent a room. This is the way forward.

Next we look at the statistics regarding mental illness among school students. The upward trajectory is very encouraging and definitely shows that our policies are working. Boss Hinds is full of praise. The suicide rate in HE is even more encouraging. The hostile environment at work.

3 pm. Some concern about the Stalag Academy chain. Discipline is pretty strict with the no smiling policy rigorously enforced and students have to maintain continual eye contact with the guards - teachers, I mean - and thank them at the end of every lesson. Anyway, seems that the kids have been setting up escape committees and have been trying to tunnel their way out. Been sent to inspect Stalag 13. The head, Commandant Klink, has an afternoon assembly in an attempt to impress us. When they take the name call, though, they find that there are more than fifty prisoners - oops, I mean students - missing. Alarms go off as the school is placed in lockdown and a search begins. Eventually a tunnel is discovered in the gym hidden beneath a wooden horse. Apparently the kids got the idea from some old war film. Have to get the dogs in to hunt them down.

This sort of Great Escape cannot be tolerated. All the bloody kids are grinning, let alone smiling! It gives them hope and we have to kill hope.




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