A wonderful moment this morning on BBC Breakfast News, our esteemed Secretary of State was asked: “How many academies, currently, are unsatisfactory?” She replied “Well it’s not abow, byah mmm nyah obviously academies…” caught on the hop, Morgan began to try to defend the indefensible by ignoring the question. The Interviewer, Charlie Stayt, pointed out some people say that: “Just turning a school into an academy does not make it a good school… You’re suggesting to us that this is the absolute answer to any problems with schools: they become academies, so could you just tell us how many academies are falling below the standards?” The answer came back swiftly, though quietly: “No….”
It brings to mind the oft quoted line from Samuel Beckett’s piece Worstward Ho:
Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.
What follows is worth looking at too:
Now the other. Sick of the either try the other. Sick of it back sick of the either. So on. Somehow on. Till sick of both. Throw up and go. Where neither. Till sick of there. Throw up and back. The body again. Where none. The place again. Where none. Try again. Fail again. Better again. Or better worse. Fail worse again. Still worse again. Till sick for good. Throw up for good. Go for good. Where neither for good. Good and all.
So on, somehow on marches ‘Academisation’, all business values and managerialism, being brought into an education sector that is itself falling for business values and managerialism without the need to be turned into academies but we’re sick of the either so we’ll try the other… Whether it works or not… But what works is our mantra, that Blairite creed: “What counts is what works…” has now turned into “What counts is what we say works…” which it always was but… somehow on…
Turning our backs on the bad old days of ideology is one thing, pragmatic managerialism is another, sick of the either, try the other…
But all this is ideological. The online Oxford English Dictionary defines ideology as: ‘A system of ideas and ideals, especially one which forms the basis of… political theory and policy…’
So let us argue about ideology, rather than pretending it’s all about figures of numbers of failing schools and about the need for every child to get a great education. Every child should get a great education but how to achieve that is not by trying to hoodwink people into believing in easy solutions, tell us the truth and involve us in the conversation.
Go for good. Where neither for good. Good and all.