Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

From the Editor - in These Dark Times, There Are Some Shining Lights: Opinion

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

From the Editor - in These Dark Times, There Are Some Shining Lights: Opinion

Article excerpt

"If we wish hard enough we can recreate a universe where the holidays are doubled. I call it the Cognitive Tinkerbell effect," tweeted our behaviour expert on the eve of returning to school this week. Failing that, he went on, "Drink everything in your house, including the Listerine."

Rarely at the beginning of a new school year can the auguries have been so inauspicious, the signs so baleful and the prospects so gloomy. The summer holidays are barely a hangover away and Christmas can't come soon enough. The Olympics have ended, the economy is lifeless and there are disturbing rumours that the BBC is to commission another series of Miranda. There is no good news. Anywhere.

School offers no refuge. Ofsted is gearing up to measure raised floor targets at terribly short notice. The two biggest teaching unions are displaying all the strategic nous of Mussolini. And then there's Ofqual. Christ, what on earth did the profession do to deserve Ofqual? It has one job: to regulate exams. It's so good at its one job that pupils received different grades for the same results in the same exam. Why? "Some pupils got lucky." Can we fix it? "Computer says no." There are strong suspicions that Ofqual doesn't reside in Coventry at all, but in a large, airtight call centre somewhere off-world.

But despite all the economic gloom, despite the spreading bog of educational policy crap, despite the Lord enriching people's lives with George Galloway, Ant and Dec and Cash in the Attic, often in the same afternoon, teachers are truly blessed. Honest. If that seems hardly credible, read Tom Bennett's article on the pupils who just, well, stick (pages 26-30). …

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