Monday, 7 April 2014

Uh-huh, trouble - Gove-Wilshaw and the DfE officials' petition to Gove.

Wilshaw is sitting at his desk.

Gove rushes in.

Wilshaw (looks up): Ah - the postman hasn't knocked twice.

Gove:  Are you behind this?

(Gove waves some papers at Wilshaw. It's a petition from DfE officials. The petition calls on Gove to create a level playing-field for all inspections. At present, says the petition, there is one rule for Local Authority schools and another for Free Schools and Academies. This, says the petition, makes the inspection and improvement processes open to political interference, as the final and sole arbiter of how failing academies and free schools are to be dealt with is in the hands of Gove. They say they are particularly concerned about this in the run-up to the General Election as it jeopardises objectivity...)

Wilshaw: (he knows about the petition and Gove thinks Wilshaw is at least partly responsible for it)
Oh you really don't like it up you, do you?

Gove: (shouting) Academies and free schools are mine. They're all mine, Big Boy.  Not yours. And not this pissy little bunch of snipers' and gripers'.

(he waves the petition under Wilshaw's nose)

Wilshaw: (patronisingly in the voice of a parent to a child) Yes, dear, they're all yours. That's the point.

Gove: What point?

Wilshaw: (snappy) You set these schools up on the basis that they wouldn't fail. Now they're failing, none of us knows who picks up the pieces.

Gove: (yelling): And we only know they bloody fail because your bloody clodhopping bloody Ofsted bloody inspectors have tramped into them as if they're like any other school.

Wilshaw: They are.

Gove: They're NOT! They're academies and free schools.

Wilshaw: And it turns out that some of them are failing and no one really knows what do with them. And no one really knows whose job it is to deal with it.

Gove: I'm creating Regional Schools Commissionaires. Keep up.

Wilshaw: Commissioners.

Gove: Whatever. And they'll have bloody great big offices plumb slap bang in the middle of region and if there's a whisper of a problem, they can send in the marines. Just like you do.

Wilshaw: (getting ratty) But why aren't these swat teams part of my swat team?

Gove: Because your swat team is fast outliving its usefulness, Big Boy. I've got 4000 academies, free schools and the rest and I can do what I want with them.

Wilshaw: (wearily) And that's precisely why this place thinks you've lost it, pal.

Gove: (points finger under Wilshaw's nose). You wait till my regional commissionaires come in. Just you wait. They'll be handpicked. By me. They'll be working to my rules. Not yours.

Wilshaw: What happened to the Culture job? I thought 'Shameless' was on her way, and you were going in there with your Shakespeare and your Wordsworth and your Milton and your-.

Gove: Mind your own bloody business.

Wilshaw (laughing): Oh it wasn't your big gob, was it? Not the 'loads of hot sex' thing, was it? Were you pissed again?

Gove walks out, throwing the petition in the bin as he leaves.

Wilshaw: (shouting after him): You know you really ought to run your speeches past Sarah. She'd weed out that sort of thing.
(mutters under his breath) Or weed you out.

Wilshaw flips a page on his retirement count-down calendar.