An exciting story, and a poignant one in equal measure: a clear blue day, a reliable Boeing 777, and an experienced crew. Then, nothing. You've thought about the paradoxical nature of the story for weeks...
We pride ourselves on being WELL in touch with the hard-working common man and the kind of things they like. That's what our Beer'N'Bingo bullsh**, er, I mean bonus, was all about. But wait - that was a proper BIG-HITTER of an idea, a 'Gove' as we call them...so we've come up with some MORE 'triffic' proposals that hard-working, tax-paying poor-people are going to LOVE!!
The recent news that Michael Gove, Education Secretary and MP, wishes to bridge the gap between state and private schools and extend students' time in the classroom to a maximum of 10 hours per day, has received mixed reaction from both parents and teachers alike. While there is evidence to support longer school days, there is also just as much research negating the idea.
Is it ethical to let a young person go to university in the full knowledge that a degree will serve then with no hope of employment? Is it ethical to supply a student with skills and information that have no relevance to the world of work? Is it ethical let a young person to exchange their money and time for a degree that is materially worthless?
With a needle and thread you can sew on a button, make a beautiful dress and also have rewarding career. So why is it a shrinking part of our national curriculum?
General revolt against Ofsted is growing, with schools around the country (and their communities) saying that its processes are not fair or reasonable, its criteria arbitrary, and its inspections incredibly stressful and destructive.
From the moment you attend that first job interview, you can often find yourself participating in an elaborate and bizarre form of performance art. 'Why do you want the job?' - they ask. For most people, the answer is relatively simple - 'because I have bills to pay, kids to feed, etc...'
Michael Gove might not know it yet, but he is in for a fight on this issue. The running community are an impressive bunch; eternally positive, and as good endurance athletes always can, willing to sustain a campaign it believes in.
Speaker John Bercow has recently commented that he would like to curb the "yobbery and public-school twittishness" displayed in the House of Commons. But bawling like toddlers fighting at a creche is not an activity exclusive to the mother of all parliaments. Around the world, elected representatives regularly shout, wail, make animal noises, cry and fight. Here are 10 examples...
The BBC does seem to specialise in its welcomes. A personal favourite is the introduction of the 'arch bitch of Canterbury' Alright, he may not be everyone's cup of tea but that's a bit uncalled for! Let's not forget introducing the Chinese Year of the Horse as 'Year of the Whores'. Crikey!
Teachers work some of the longest hours of any profession with many working 50-60 hours a week. Our work is essential, our pay is not high, our pensions not gold-plated and we cannot be expected to work more hours than we already do. There comes a point when it is impossible to ignore what is happening.
Michael Gove, Education Secretary, is determined to raise academic standards and few would argue against that. However, schools are under pressure to become autonomous, to set their own curriculums and budgets and to move away from local authority control and there is an argument that this policy together with a greater focus on narrow performance measures and less money is undermining the arts in education.
Since graduating, I have followed my parents in working exclusively within state education, although unlike them I don't do the really difficult and important job of teaching. Every day I believe more and more (and from a high start-point) in the tremendous value of what the college I work at does, and of the wider system.
If we care about our children and future generations, we must reverse the idea that children can be squeezed into somewhere on the basis of available space, cost cutting and political expediency. We are judged as a society by the care we give out children. Future generations will not thank us for failing on our duty to our youngest citizens.
So Mr Gove, I hope I have been able to show you that 'school service', as a positive force rather than the punitive one you alluded to, has the potential to help pupils so much more than picking up litter.
Michael Gove seems to like annoying people. His cocksure manner and breathtaking self-confidence means that he regularly comes into conflict with teachers, students, Lib Dems, his own deputy... pretty much the entire public.