The Four Yorkshiremen
(With apologies to Monty Python and to real Yorkshiremen and women.)
(Due to austerity measures, the four actors’ parts are played by two comedians.)
The Scene (the near future, following a General Election)
Four [two] well-dressed men are sitting together at a kitchen supper at the residence of former Prime Minister David Cameron.
Sir Michael Wilshaw (former Ofsted Chief Inspector): Second Yorkshireman;
Aye, very passable, that, very passable pasty.
Nothing like a good glass of Château de Murdoch, eh, Michael?
You’re right there, Michael.
Who’d have thought three year ago we’d all be sittin’ here drinking Château de Murdoch, eh?
In them days we was glad to have the price of a Jamie Oliver school dinner what wi’all STRESS we was under.
STRESS tha don’t know meanin o’ word! Them teachers, neither. Claimed they was ’stressed’, what wi’ all disruptive kids, targets, tests, inspections, marking, planning, constant sniping from politicians and Ofsted and t’media; changes t’ pay and conditions, changes to inspection regime, changing policies, academies and free schools, abusive parents, drugs, mobile phones, lectures about ‘coasting’ and ‘failing’ from Chief Inspection, Education Secretary and PM; budget cuts, redundancies, performance management… What’s stressful about any o’ that?!
I’ll tell you what’s stressful thinking up new ways t’ tinker wi’ education policies especially them that contradicted each other, like raising teaching standards by employing unqualified teachers and setting schools free and telling them what and how to teach. I even called list of exams kids had done a “Baccalaureate” even though were no such thing. That’s why t’ were known as “Ee-Bac or was it EBac, or EBacc or Ebac? (we never could agree on t’ spelling) ‘cos I’m a Scots, ah mean Yorkshireman, tha knows.
Call that STRE’SS! You were lucky to have policies. I had to sit behind t’ big desk undermining me own inspectors and changing names of insection categories. Took me 29 hours a day to think o’ changin’ ‘Satisfactory’ to ‘Requires Improvement’ and 29 more to think o’ downgrading ‘Outstanding’ schools!
Inspectors! We had nowt in way of inspectors! I had to make a speech at a posh school da’n south an recite names of all t’ famous men in t’ country that had even bin t’ private schools. Took me all week! That were stress!
Committees! I had to drink so much watter I had to put me hand up and leave room; and next time I were chastised for being late. That were stress!
Let me tell you what stress is. D’ya think it were easy trying to alienate teaching profession by being rude and patronising? I had to make me sen more unpopular and infamous than Chris Woodhead. That were proper man’s stress!
Rude and patronising?! Alienating profession?! I had to speak to ‘eadmasters, I mean headteachers, and tell ‘em t’ “man-up”. And some of them were women, an all!
And you try and tell the teachers of today that, about all the stress we had they won’t believe you.
Aye, they’d think we were just talking nonsense!