The Return of the Old Gods
Curriculum Cop 10
9 am Great celebrations at the DfE. Despite the temporary retreat over forced academisation, it is at last clear beyond any shadow of a doubt that the privatisation of state education has gone so far that it is irreversible. A free school has been advertised for sale on E-Bay! At last evidence that the great trek towards privatisation, initiated all those years ago by Tony Blair, has been a success. 'Knuckles' Morgan is quite justifiably jubilant and is going to give the go ahead for granting a trading license to Sid's Used Academy Emporium, hopefully the first of many such firms. The trading of schools is the final frontier. What an achievement. Who would have believed that we could have got away with it without anyone even noticing.
10 am After the celebrations come the problems. The grammar tests for seven year olds have been a serious embarrassment for the government and I have been charged with heading up a team of investigators to find out what is going on. How on earth did such a perverse test get put in place? None of the Cabinet could answer the question, although that lying bastard Boris Johnson claimed he could. So where did the tests come from? What on earth was the thinking behind them? The knowledge being tested has no practical application in or relevance to the real world whatsoever so the inevitable conclusion was that there were otherworldly concerns at work. Our investigations have implicated 'Old' Nick Gibb, the junior minister, but the full horror of what we have uncovered is difficult to grasp. We explored every possible explanation for the nature of these tests, every possible motivation for inflicting them on children, and in the end we identified them as being the work of a centuries old cult working within the DfE. There was no other possible explanation for what has been going on.
It seems that for thousands of years there have been people determined to bring about the return of the Old Gods to rule over the earth. They are headed up by the so-called High Grammarian whose latest incarnation is 'Old' Nick Gibb. It is their belief that if they can get enough children to chant the words 'Digraph! Ellipsis! Grapheme! Homonym! Phoneme! Trigraph!' at the same time then this will open a portal for the Old Gods, the many tentacled ones, to return and wreak vengeance on humankind, ushering in a universe of pain, suffering, misery and despair. Such is the power of Grammar once it is unleashed and rules supreme.
Fortunately the plot was uncovered in time.
11 am I lead a crack team deep into the bowels of the DfE where the Grammarians have been secretly practising their perverted grammatical exercises. We break down the door and rush in to discover that they are just about to sacrifice a child. Their unfortunate victim is being forced to sit a pilot exam to see what effect it has on the temporal matrix. I place 'Old' Nick and his acolytes under arrest and we have the child rushed to hospital although I fear we were too late and she has been permanently damaged. 'Old' Nick cackles uncontrollably as he is led away in chains.
12.15 am Interrogation of 'Old' Nick. 'You think you have stopped us, but you are wrong, mortals. The Old Gods will have their way with the world no matter what you do. Nothing can prevent their triumph'. I put him straight.' Afraid not, so-called High Grammarian. Even as we speak the government is issuing a statement saying it is listening to parental concerns and withdrawing the tests'. 'Old' Nick howls with rage. 'You can lock me up for a thousand years, but in the end the Old Gods will triumph'. 'Lock you up', I say. 'I'm afraid you're not getting off that easily. It's the House of Lords for you. The Prime Minister has sentenced you to a living death in the zombie chamber.' All bravado stripped away, 'Old' Nick finally breaks down, crying, begging for mercy. 'Not the Lords! Anything but the Lords! I might have to sit next to John Prescott or David Blunkett. Aaargh!'
The world will never know how close it came to despair and destruction. The Grammarian cult was within a hairsbreadth of unleashing the Old Gods but we stopped them in the 'Nick' of time, so to speak. Everything will be hushed up, tidied away. No need to alarm the public. But for the Curriculum Police it is just another day's work. What the fuck is a 'trigraph' anyway?
2 pm Only remains to report back to 'Knuckles'. I tell her how, after we had failed to come up with any possible rational explanation for the tests, then the supernatural was all that was left. There were other clues indicating an approaching Apocalypse, the End of Days: Donald Trump getting the Republican nomination, Boris Johnson still being taken seriously, Tony Blair not being in prison for war crimes, Ian Duncan Smith claiming to care about the poor, indeed a whole number of events that denied rational explanation. In the end, everything pointed to 'Old Nick'.
2.30 pm Visit the offices of the Eugenics Academy chain for a discussion with their CEO. He has some interesting ideas he wants to put forward for general implementation. 'What we have decided to do', he tells me, 'is to remove all the disabled students from our mainstream schools and concentrate them in our worst performing establishments. This is really no more than acknowledging the natural order of things, although some parents have inevitably complained. Can't understand why. As soon as we've time we'll introduce wheelchair access'. All seems eminently reasonable to me.
3.30 pm Memo from Giles reminding me that Downing Street wants to see our proposals for driving down social mobility. Must get on to 'Knuckles' about this. Sometimes all this gets a bit confusing because while government policy right across the board is aimed at making life as difficult as possible for the 'ordinaries,' as Giles likes to call them, denying them opportunity, increasing hardship, creating more poverty and generally fucking them over, it has to be presented as being all for their benefit for some reason. Apparently some Australian (not Rupert, another one, Lynton something or other) has convinced the PM that people will put up with you doing just about anything to them if you pretend you're doing it for their own good. The DfE has got to play its full part in shafting the plebs!
4 pm More mundane problems to deal with. There are some worries about the number of Academy Trusts that are registered in offshore tax havens and whether they are being used for money laundering. In today's world some involvement in drug-pushing, gun-running, selling blood diamonds and suchlike is inevitable. It goes with the territory as they say. Still it shouldn't be anything to worry about unless some bleeding heart liberal decides to leak all the confidential financial details to the press - then we could be in the shit. Still, fingers crossed.
Another worry is the Kim Jong-un Academy chain. It was inevitable that eventually, just like with the railways, we would have foreign state education systems taking over Academy Trusts. No real problem with that except that we were thinking of Germany, France, Belgium, even China, but not North Korea. A brutal regime that oppresses its own people, suppresses any independent thought whatsoever and enforces orchestrated conformist displays of mass public celebration. Mind you, once you recognise that North Korea is actually a hereditary absolute monarchy in practice and only pretending to be Communist then they are a lot more like us than might at first appear. When you think about it there's a lot we can learn from these people. Downing Street wants us to see if we can get the Saudis involved in running a few schools.
5 pm Oh no! Another Academy head has done a runner with the school funds after being caught on the fiddle. The fifth this week. There is no rest for the Curriculum Police, keeping education safe 24/7.