Spotlight on: a dystopian view of the future of our schools


The education sector is in flux and, in so many areas, it’s under severe pressure. Funding is down but demands are up – efficiency and savings are core to everything school business professionals do. Is the education sector on course to lose sight of its fundamental purpose? And what more can be done to save money? One Manchester-based school business manager shares a haunting view into the future

Mr Chips, B.Ed, NPQH, PGCE, CDM, GNT, CEO and executive learning facilitator, entered St Cutherbert’s plc. Academy’s multi-function learning environment (available at very reasonable rates for weddings, conferences bar mitzvahs and line dancing). He strode onto the stage and looked down at his education consumption units. Grasping the lectern firmly, he fired up the PowerPoint and started cascading the relevant information:
“Pupils, the results of the mid-term productivity assessments are now analysed. We have drilled down into the numbers and your value added just doesn’t hit the benchmark. It is time to play hardball and review the game plan.
“St Cutherbert’s, as you know, is a results-driven, customer-centric, multi-faceted information transfer establishment. The learning facilitators and associated vice presidents have looked under the bonnet and seen what makes it sing. We have gone back to the drawing board and reviewed the strategic staircase. We are now going to get our ducks in a line and run it up the flag pole for you all to salute.
“We will not be moving the goal posts for the sports targets, as we have levelled the playing field.
“The music target will still include all its bells and whistles – but, you will all be singing off the same page.
“We have yet to dot the ‘i’s and cross the ‘t’s on the English language business plan.
“11C homework will be an evaluator pitch on how to circle back, touch base, keep outside the loop and reinvent the wheel – concurrently, to save time.
“Ms Smith’s spelling group are reminded there is no ‘I’ in team. We will have to have more joined-up thinking from philosophy and students of business studies will have to produce a paper on how to flog a dead horse.
“The technology department will be streamlined. ICT’s excuse that there isn’t enough bandwidth does not have legs and won’t stand up to further scrutiny. We will touch base offline.
“Drama students will be encouraged to act outside the box.
“Those on the geometry course will be expected to quickly square the circle.
“Food tech’s development scheme has been put on a back burner.
“The BTEC students doing plumbing and heating engineering will have to move to a hot desk environment. We will crack the whip over students on the animal behaviour BTEC.
“We have identified horticulture as the low hanging fruit and biology ideas on using millipedes we have identified as having legs.
“With regard to progress in musical movement, we will put on a record and see who dances.
“The communications strategy is now on my radar.
“So, as you can see, the helicopter thinking of the senior executives has led to an idea shower that has identified the game plan and win-win situations.
“We can’t let the grass grow under our feet on this so, please move into your discussion teams and brain storm your own action plans.”
The smiling shiny faces looked at him with wide-eyed admiration – or total bafflement. As he walked off the stage he thought they had to understand – it was all as plain as the nose on your face.
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