The Plastic Hippo

October 9, 2010

Bully for you

Filed under: Education,Politics,Walsall — theplastichippo @ 12:31 am


Where is your anti-bullying policy, Headteacher?


Bullies are usually cowardly, deny responsibility and are economical with the truth. Child psychologists have invested a great deal of time and effort into understanding why children become bullies and most conclude that it is a combination of weakness, a lack of ability and an absence of positive role models. A bully in the playground grows up to be a bully in the workplace or, if the latest pronouncement from its website is to be believed, Walsall council.

Following the cancellation of the Building Schools for the Future project, Little Michael Gove hinted at, but gave no details of, funds being made available for “school improvements”. Quite how this man was made scissor monitor is a question that only the head boy can answer, but the oafs in the lower remove of Walsall council are now keen to hand over the dinner money extorted from the unwashed townies to pay for Little Michael’s latest wheeze.

A “new collaborative approach” to school improvement in Walsall means that “a major new survey” of the condition of secondary schools is required to place Walsall “first in the queue” for the bowl of gruel that Little Michael might or might not ladle up.

The survey will cost half a million pounds.

The Building Schools for the Future project allegedly surveyed all the secondary schools in Walsall in order to hand down a decision as to which schools deserved refurbishment or rebuilding. The cost of this exercise was met by “top slicing” the budgets of every school in the borough and has left many schools with an artificially imposed budget deficit. If the ludicrous Ofsted were to pay a visit, these schools would be judged as being “inadequate” due to financial incompetence. If the Health and Safety Executive were to pay a visit, some schools would be closed down as being unsafe.

It seems that the new survey is necessary to enable the council to “act swiftly” when the voices inside Little Michael’s head tell him that Walsall really, really loves him and that Fiona Bruce is giving him funny looks. The cabinet member responsible for children’s services seems to think that another survey will secure government funding from a coalition hell bent on cutting services to children who are unfortunate enough to be born to parents who do not vote Tory. The cabinet member responsible for regeneration “hopes” that schools will make a “financial contribution” to reinventing the wheel which, in council speak, translates into “you’re mother’s a scrounger – hand over your sweets”.

The Andrex twin pack seem to have missed the point. The survey already exists, conducted by very well paid consultants who have now crawled back into the woodwork from whence they emerged after a nice little earner paid for from school funds. They seem to have forgotten that Serco – annual profits up 34 per cent to £194.7million – run education in Walsall. The seem to have forgotten that Gove is barking mad and will give any money that is going to the lunatic fringe wanting to set up “free schools” to indoctrinate the undeserving poor with whatever poisonous bilge they are choosing to peddle.

Cabinet may express the hope that schools will “contribute” but in reality they will take the money anyway to pay for a duplicate, unnecessary piece of bureaucracy in the vain possibility of attracting the attention of the clueless Little Michael. More importantly, if this survey is necessary, what the bloody hell have Serco and the council been doing all this time if they have no idea what state schools are in even after the “in-depth” and very expensive BSF study? Perhaps if they bother to ask any secondary school student what it is like to be educated in a crumbling slum, the cost would be considerably less than half a million.

Rather than attempting to earn their allowances, cabinet and their enforcers a happier to employ yet more consultants and bully schools into coughing up the money without any need or prospect of a successful outcome. Like all bullies, they can manage to be very plausible when challenged and deny any responsibility when questioned, content to roll out the patronising platitudes prepared by an equally expensive press office . The late Tim Field, a legendary anti-bullying in the workplace campaigner said:

“Bullying consists of the least competent most aggressive employee projecting their incompetence on to the least aggressive most competent employee and winning.”

Having allowed schools to rot and then bled them dry with a promise of repair, Walsall council are back for more and Serco remain silent for the moment.

If you don’t give us your mobile – we’ll get you after school.


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