Ran into an old friend of mine at the supermarket the other day and he told me that, today, he was starting life as a teacher at an academy. This wasn’t his choice, nor yet the choice of many of his teaching colleagues who so far forgot themselves as to go on strike and earn a snide remark from Gove (swelling the ranks of the ‘enemies of promise’). However, like I imagine all good teachers would, he’s putting that behind him and going in determined to do the best for his students — a bit like he did before, really.
What will change, now that Mr Gove has decided he and his colleagues were failing their students and had to become an academy? Apparently, the uniform : all fancy ties and blazers, given free to all in a magnanimous gesture that has me wondering, how much did that cost (a quick flick of the abacus suggests northwards of fifty grand) and wasn’t there anything better to spend the money on? The teachers have not been treated so generously and have been told to dress ‘as if for an interview’, which will not be far from the truth, I’m thinking.
There was a time when I was anti-uniform but I have come to see the benefit of encouraging corporate identify and a spirit of pride in the school. However, I still don’t get the obsession with blazers and ties. Are these jumped up comprehensives trying to ape their betters in the independent sector?! Does it simply suggest ‘business’ and an aspiration to become stock-brokers and investment bankers? In the real world, fewer and fewer adopt this kind of dress and even top politicians often don more casual garb, dropping the tie at least. So why do our kids have to look like they’re extras on Hi-Di-Hi?