With the prospect of a heavily cut budget, George Osborne has been contemplating the best way to allocate the resources of the United Kingdom. Although I am of course a patriot of Tea-Party Texan standards, I barely took notice of my country's budget cuts, until my economics teacher mentioned the prospect of cuts in both higher and secondary education. Now, education is not everyone's cup of tea, particularly judging by the number of Facebook posts that flood my newsfeed saying so, but the fact that we could be faced with reduced educational opportunities is a nightmare that can only be comprehended by, well, anyone who's given it a second thought.
Or, a medium-sized handful of people.
BUDGET CUTS. The headline has been blasted on the front pages of every newspaper (apart from the tabloids obviously, who opted for more cultured titles such as 'BUDGET CUTS MORE DIFFICULT TO EXPERIENCE THAN THIS VIDEO OF A PREGNANT HAMSTER' and 'PAGE 3 GIRLS USE QUOTES BY PLATO AND ARISTOTLE TO DESRIBE GEORGE OSBOURNE'). Although these headlines are enough to make your head spin - or make you immediately turn the paper over - they've got me to thinking: what's the worst that could happen? What if the education budget is cut? Should I gain the ability to travel through time (in which case I wouldn't need school, and I'd instead be spending the future travelling to medieval Britain, prehistoric Scandinavia, and basically any era outside of Northern Ireland from 1968 to 1997), I think my future after-school diary entry could be a lot like this:
'I had a great day at school today. When my bus pulled up beside the mound of stray paper and Apple Tiser cans that mark the rickety wooden entrance to the building, I knew it would be. Registration was the same as ever; due to lack of teaching staff our form class marked absentees by calling pupils' names, and if they didn't reply within a minute, we'd use either the ABSENT or the ASSUMED MISSING/DEAD tally etched onto the wall. After the bell rang, we went off to class, while the least wealthy students were sent on their duty to scour the playground for scraps of food.
I had maths next. Taught by my classmates' dad (a banker serving community service for selling fraud pension schemes), we were talked through the intricacies of differentiation, shown the power of graph plotting, and taught how to effectively shave figures off your tax return. The class doesn't end when the bell rings; instead we wait for the teacher's parole officer to come and take him away, which then signals breaktime! I ate a bag of crisps to cure my hunger, and made sure - as always - to keep the bag close to my chest. Otherwise, as we all know, you put yourself at risk of being mugged by a dinnerlady, who'll find some way of incorporating your Tayto crumbs into a crude pasta bake. Everyone expected the dinnerladies to go first when the budget got cut, but it seems they get paid in lipstick and Mayfair, which must be easier to come by.
English is my favourite class of all. Our teacher is one of the few who kept her job when the cuts took place, and as a result she always manages to come into school with a smile on her face, particularly when she's near a CCTV camera. We had to sell our books a while back so for our poetry assignment we've been studying the works left on the inside of portaloo walls. Today's piece read: 'Lairdy was ere. PS all touts r targets'. Not quite Shakespeare, but as our teacher explained, it's quite a social comment.
The last subject in our budget-shortened day was PE. As our sports hall has been converted to a Poundstretcher, our sports coach/caretaker/school councillor/headmaster took us to the bus depot, and as a class we elected one student to stomp on a coked-up chav's Nike Air Max, and we ran as fast as we could away from the guy as he chased us in his dirty Air Max, foaming at the mouth and carrying a switchblade. It was a far better workout than running on the spot in the sports hall back in the day, although, I was crying as I ran through town, which could have affected my fatigue.
All in all the day was both educational and eventful, just like any other at my grammar school nowadays. Or as it'll be called from next week: The Sports Direct Athletic Goods Grammar School. '
...I predict that's exactly what it'll be like should our schools not get all the funding they require. Your move, George Osborne, your move.