the weekly

Academy Flu

I have the squawk of the devil,
I have academy flu.
Why are the playing-fields level?
Atishoo. My beak's turning blue.

Please keep your paws off my pinions;
Please do not rattle my cage –
If a school wants to be a St. Trinian's,
Then let it. New Labour. New Age.

Bring back the stick. Or the carrot –
Let a thousand academies bloom.
I may sound as sick as a parrot,
But I'm still a game bird. Mind my plume.

Some like to dress up in leather;
Some like the sniff of a church.
We are all of a different feather;
We all need a separate perch.

Some of us cry 'Pretty Polly!';
Some of us, 'Pieces of Eight!' –
What? Learn the same lessons? What folly!
Must we all share a similar fate?

I repeat. I repeat. Mind this sniffle.
Give every school a new voice.
Let them drown in fresh paper and piffle,
Since there isn't a choice left, but choice.

Academy Flu
Tony Blair is determined to allow each secondary school, to become independent, to be able to determine its own curriculum, to sack failing teachers, and to stream pupils by ability. A parrot in Essex was discovered to have 'bird flu'.
25 October 2005


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