The Plastic Hippo

July 28, 2011

On the third day

Filed under: Education,Walsall — theplastichippo @ 12:32 pm

“And God said, Let the waters under heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters he called the Seas: and God saw that it was good.
And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
And the evening and the morning were the third day.”

First Book of Genesis, verses 9 to 13. King James Version.

Three days into the school summer holidays, the Walsall Cabinet of Dr Caligari met in secret to discuss the education contract with, please stop yawning at the back, Serco. When a somnambulist takes on a mountebank, the result is as hilarious and horrific as the classic German expressionist film directed by Robert Wiene in 1920. Serco, at least in Walsall, is history.

The timing of this decision is most telling. With the majority of teaching staff, governors and school senior management teams off painting water colours in Devon, on walking tours in the Carpathians or attending Hezbollah training camps, reaction will be difficult to analyse. Most of us have become accustomed to pronouncements from the council late on Friday afternoon after the local paper has been put to sleep, but announcing such a u-turn three days into the hols is really extracting the urine. The very people that were once so eager to get into bed with with the Serco cowboys now talk of a changing “landscape” which sees Serco as surplus to requirements. God, in the earthly form of Mike Bird, saw that it was bad.

Details of what the new “landscape” will look like have yet to emerge but our wonderful council tells us that they will “work closely with headteachers and key stakeholders” to “redesign” services. Oh dear, more consultation. Hands up any Headteacher or key stakeholder that has been “consulted” prior to this admission of failure other than the regular and obvious statements that Serco is crap. The waters parted by Michael Gove`s Education Bill gives rise to a new topography that Walsall children can now explore. But suffering little children should beware; there are lions and tigers and bears, oh my, out there.

The bottom line is, with all due respect to the 1944 Butler Education Act, schooling in this town and the rest of the country has failed. With an imbecile like Gove being allowed access to sharp instruments and the morons on Walsall cabinet refusing to sit on the naughty step, the message to our children is clear. You`re on your own, kids.

Serco, of course, will have the last laugh and their lawyers can look forward to a massive Christmas bonus once the messy litigation comes to its conclusion. Barristers and not books will now be the funding priority of our hopeless local authority and Bird and his chums will creatively ignore the fact that it was their decisions that led to a massive waste of money and the abandoned aspirations of thousands of children.

God created heaven and earth in six days and rested on the seventh. Cameron, Gove and Bird display less infallibility. It has taken them 15 months to destroy the future.

On day four of the summer holiday, teachers, parents and other “key stakeholders”, namely children, might be in two minds about bothering to turn up in September. With no alternative plan in place and with Serco at long last kicked out of town, God knows what fruit and herb yielding seed will be brought forth.

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