The arrival of the Testicalz, from the planet CRAZY, was clouded in stealth, mystery and bureaucracy. In those early days we didn’t know whether to whine about our mental health issues (duly prescribed by a legion of therapists with only our best interests at heart) or create our own hashtag. In the end, we decided to publish our thoughts in the TES. However, during the editing process a few key points were missed. I’d like to present the original version here, with the omissions in bold.
To begin with, I couldn’t work out why there was yet another swathe of revisions to the Sats requirements, and consequently the curriculum, for KS2.
Was it, I wondered, because of industry bosses thumping the boardroom table and demanding to know why no school leavers these days could identify sentences using the passive voice, or tell the difference between a preposition phrase and a relative clause? It seemed unlikely. Was it the parents, then, angrily hiding the smartphones and demanding that their 11-year-olds should be able to subtract a quarter from one and one fifth, using only a pencil and squared paper? I doubted it.
Then it dawned on me. This round of changes wasn’t the result of people giving a damn about the quality of our education system. It wasn’t even the clueless meddling of some whey-faced product of the public school system flailing around to remember what was good enough for him when he was a boy. It was clever – and far more sinister.
Our education system is being run by the Testicalz, a race of barbaric yet stunningly intelligent and powerful intergalactic space beings from the planet CRAZY, intent on testing our children until their IKEA-bought homework desks become splattered with brain-plasma.
The last thing our leaders want is to rear a generation of articulate, free-thinking, creative young people who will question the status quo and propose alternatives. Hence the national curriculum is being intentionally crammed with junk knowledge – teaching 11-year-olds to multiply fractions without a calculator or to recognise subordinating conjunctions and modal verbs. It only logically follows that the Testicalz use some other, post-Google super computer called Deep-Thought, or something. They’re trying to brainwash our children with facts, the space shits!
Educationally, it’s pointless – the equivalent of making prisoners dig holes and fill them in again. Tactically though, it’s brilliant. Teachers are kept under such pressure, they have no time to educate creatively or even to stop and question what they are being told to do. Children are kept under such pressure that they have no time to question, to wonder or – most dangerous of all – to imagine. The Testicalz are coming, they’re coming to get us and test us to death until our OPTEMS sheets are bloodied and unreadable! Pencil nibs will be broken, with graphite tears pooling on Consortium exercise books.
Pupil and educator alike are subjected to ruthless testing and unachievable standards. The Testicalz clearly are trying to test our little ones into whatever their hideous version of the SS is. Should they succeed, more impossible demands will be heaped upon them. Thus, they can be subjugated, their spirit broken by repeated failure and the public convinced that teachers are a rather lazy, hopeless bunch, worthy of little respect. And then the Testicalz will have won. The battle will be over, and not even Michael Rosen will be able to save us. Children’s heads, bloated with knowledge and fear and stress, will explode all over their Manchester United bedcovers and Punch and Judy toothpaste.
To quote Aung San Suu Kyi, “It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.”
Do I detect a hint of desperation in their methods, though? Grab your flaming clubs and meet me at the DfE! WE’LL BURN THEM ALL BACK TO ANDROMEDA!