Behaviour Chat with Charlie Taylor at the DfE: Die Hard- in a ministry

The Department for Education, and it seems, Charlie and Lola.
Mile End station, even by the standards of the staunchest Pollyanna, is an unlovely troglodyte's cave; get out at Mile End station and you expect to see still-smoking Sobanries on the floor, and wonder when the Soviets bailed. Get out at Westminster, the Jubilee flagship station, and you're in an alternate dimension of the future where the Empire never waned, all elegant mechanical spires and Olympic engineering. Such was my after school journey last Thursday, when I had the pleasure of attending the Ministry of Funny Teaching, sorry, the Department FOR Education. I emphasise this in case anyone mistakenly thought that prior to the name change in 2009, they were actually AGAINST education. Mind you, they paid for me to do Brain Gym, so who knows?

The raison d'etre was to take part in a Q&A with Charlie Taylor, the incumbent behaviour czar to the government, in a live recording taking part inside the DfE. The brief suggested arriving at five for a seven o'clock start, and I was wondering what would take two hours. I was kind of hoping there would be some kind of secret mission for me. Alas it was only the cover-every-eventuality turbo-planning of someone who was probably used to last-minute-Larrys goofing their schedules. Still, if there's a next time, I'm chipping up at five-to with a cheeky grin.

An estate agent would describe the interior as generously appointed. It's quite beautiful, with cities-of-the-future offices suspended around an enormous atrium. It would make, I'd like to suggest, an excellent setting for the next Die Hard movie ('Yippee-kai-ay, Mumsnetf***rs!').

NUT 'most wanted' list.
There's even a two-lift system: one of them allows the Morlocks to toil endlessly in the darkness, while another allows the Eloi to ascend to the loftiest heights; access to the second is gained only by, I presume, a retina scan and a password (I tried 'full pelt' without success). It reminded me of the lifts in the Waldorf-Astoria in New York; one set accommodates the people wearing fanny-packs, while another allows Paris Hilton access to her private eyrie (a guard told me, 'These lifts aren't for people like you,' and I said, 'What, with jobs?')

The waiting room was decorated (and I use the word with caution) with a chronological series of education secretary mugshots; a Butler, a Baker, an Academy Maker, that kind of thing. No M-Gove yet. But how long? The average tenure in the top chair seems to be just under two years per Grand Fromage. One more brown envelope, one more tart talking to the Sun on Sunday, one more cabinet musical chairs, and suddenly there's another A4 glossy pinned to the wall of the waiting room. Ah, momento mori.

I was hoping for The Thick of It, or at least the Office of Information Retrieval from Brazil; instead I got an open plan layer cake characterised by air, light and space. Of course the damning deal you make with the open plan is that you trade discretion for the Panopticon of the communal space. A chum at the TES described to me how their office goes onto Gove-standby when the Great Man wants his pencil sharpened or something. Pity these mortals then, who are on Def-Con Gove AT ALL TIMES. They must be in a state of permanent priapism.

Maybe not.

Full pelt with a Tranny

Everyone was charming and kind. There's a cafeteria (aspirant regime-topplers seeking clues, take note of my blueprint clues) at the base of the beast, open plan, of course. It looks lovely, like the showroom of the Chelsea Habitat. Unfortunately, like a McDonalds drive-through, all the seats are designed to get you off your arse and back on your feet after five minutes. They might as well attach them to the mains with copper wire, for all the comfort conveyed. Does that all sound a bit Michael Winner? I'm sorry *moves to the breakfast area, meets De Niro for snax etc*

The broadcast was fine- I'm happy to talk about behaviour until the universe succumbs to entropy. Charlie Taylor is, I gots to say, one of the most maddeningly reasonable men I've met in education, possibly because he knows what the f*ck he's talking about, which is often uncommon. He's that rare thing- a man talking about teaching and classroom management who has actually scaled the peaks before telling everyone else how to get there. I rate the fella, despite all attempts to find some significant dispute between us on matters of cheeky monkey management. Alas, I couldn't find a credit card to winkle into the space between our views. He also looks a bit like Clint, which should please Sir Michael Wilshaw. I have high hopes for Teacher Training.

'Yippee Kai-ay, memo-leaker.'
Anyway, if you want to see it, the DfE have it on their Youtube channel, and I've posted it below. Yes, they have a Youtube AND a Twitter account AND a Facebook and OMG HAVE YOU SEEN WHAT THE DEPARTMENT OF TRADE JUST POSTED ON THE MINISTRY OF DEFENCE'S WALL I NEARLY PISSED MYSELF SHE'S A TOTAL BITCH HAHAHAHA ARE YOU GOING TO THAT THING AT BRUSSELS?

*Michael Gove likes this*
*Stephen Twigg likes this if everyone else does*
*The Daily Telegraph likes this even before anyone else knows about it* 


  1. Thanks for posting this, i missed the webchat live and i am going to post it to the School website as it will be a good starting point for a lot of issues.

  2. I have been engaged in Jihad in the field of education for the last forty years. I set up the first Muslim school in London in 1981 and now there are round about 170 schools and only 12 are state funded. Muslim children are not doing well in state schools because they have been mis- educated and de-educated at a wrong place at a wrong time. They need state funded Muslim schools with Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods.

    They need to learn and be well versed in standard English to follow the National Curiculm and go for higher studies and research to serve humanity. At the same time they need to learn and be well versed in Arabic, Urdu and other community languages to keep in touch with their cultural heritage and enjoy the beauty of their literature and poetry. As far As English language is concerned, nobody is denying its value and focus should be on helping people learning English. Migrant community believes that an English language skill is key to ensuring equal access to services, opportunities and personal independence. The economic and social survival of bilingual Muslim community depends on English language but not at the cost of its mother tongue. It is a crime against humanity to deprive a community from its native tongue and cultural heritage. Muslim community is bilingual and does not believe in becoming monolingual Brits. Children that can speak more than one languages do better overall in learning and it will help them excel in a job when they are older. Only an idiot would think that being bi/trilingual is a bad thing. I think its great to be surrounded by foreign languages. There are plenty of benefits to learning them, it increases memory and other brain functions, looks great on a job résumé, and most importantly allows you to connect with a different culture and make new friends. Now is the time to teach them all the different languages you want to because they will just soak up the information. As we get older it becomes harder and harder to retrain our brains to learn a new language.

    Tolerance in Britain is an illusion. The problem isn't immigrants not adapting to British culture, it's Brits showing much disrespect and scorn to those who are of any immigrant background. even if an immigrant was well versed in English, knew the customs etc. would they still get employment? No. Would Brits treat them as a decent human? No.

    So why would they want to assimilate into a culture that is constantly tearing them down?

    There are now four state funded Sikh schools and one state funded Hindu school in Harrow and next year a Hindu state funded Muslim schools would be set up in Leicester. Even black community is thinking of setting up its own schools with its own teachers because British schooling is the home of institutional racism.

    I'm not sure how learning English will help stop extremism either, many of those who have carried out/plotted atrocities have been highly educated. Speaking English does not promote integration into British society, and broaden opportunities. English speaking Muslims still face discrimination in jobs, education and housing. English speaking Muslim youths are angry, frustrated and extremist, thanks to English language. English language is not only a lingua franca but also lingua frankensteinia. Human right also covers linguistic right. Cultural and linguistic genocide are very common. British schooling is murdering community languages like Arabic, Urdu and others. English is today the world killer language. Linguistic genocide is a crime against humanity and British schooling is guilty of committing this crime.

    There are hundreds of state and church schools where Muslim children are in majority. In my opinion, all such schools may be opted out as Muslim Academies.


Post a Comment