Saturday, December 24, 2016

David Sky: The Gov-Father (A Christmas Special)

I know, it's been some time since I updated you on what's become of my old friend,  David Sky. People have been asking (really), but 'least said, soonest mended' and all that. 

Fact is, I hadn't seen him for ages. Then I unexpectedly bumped into him at a school governor training session. Yes, that's right, Sky is a governor. Chair of Governors at that.

He and Bathsheba now have a daugther, Solomena, who has just started primary school. David hadn't heard of governors before, but he thought they seemed like important people and that he should be one of them. Whatever they were. He was a bit hazy on that at first, but then most people are. Even some governors.

Good job that as a parting gift form the outgoing HMCI Ofsted has produced something to show us how it's done. Bye, Sir Michael. Oh and while I remember, Pale Rider was a Preacher, not a Headteacher. Get your own Wild West shoot-em-up heroes to serve as role models for the education sector. 

Anyway, David Sky. There I was at this governor training session on the finer points of RaiseOnline (don't ask), and I spied him sitting at another table. 'What's that monkey doing here?', I thought to myself. Unusual. Then I twigged. It was my old sparring parter, Mr. Sky. 

Before I could head over to his table and grab a word, the training presentation began. I'll gloss over that bit, unless you'd really like a run down on  Raise and Progress 8... No? Lightweights. 

Coffee time. I really needed a caffeine boost after the first presentation of the morning, but held off in an attempt to catch up with Sky. I could hear him holding forth on how his school had the best Progress 8 scores in the world for the last five years. Strange that, as it's an England-only system that was only fully rolled out for the 2016 results. 

'Sky', I said. He didn't miss a beat. Around four years had gone by since I last heard from him, but his slightly amused contempt for me hadn't diminished one bit, 'Understand any of that? Come over so I can explain?' 

Sitting right next to him was a purple Telletubby-like thing. 'What's that?' I asked. 'That' he replied, speaking slowly as if I was a bit dim 'is Robo-Clerk. With computers these days you can have driverless cars on the roads, and pilotless drones in the air, so why not robotic clerks with enhanced artificial intelligence?' What will they think of next? 

I wondered why Sky had brought his Robo-Clerk to a training session. He explained that he could never remember anything from training and it was too much like hard work to put any of it into practice, so he got Robo-Clerk to record the sessions. She could then pre-write minutes that made it seem as though his governing body knew their stuff and ticked all boxes for Ofsted. 'But how's your school actually doing? I asked. 'I dunno, ask her.' he replied with a shrug of his shoulders. 'Trust your chair's on top of his brief, then.' I said, hopefully. Sky: 'I am the chair. No use being in something unless you're the boss of it, as someone once told me.'

I had so many questions for Sky. Last I heard Taffia Godfather, Dai Corleone was after him because Sky had escaped his clutches. He'd gone into hiding, as he didn't want to be forced back into service as a tea boy. That was all sorted now. Turning the tables, Sky had made Corleone an offer he couldn't refuse,  promising him a lifetime supply of Glengettie tea and Welsh Cakes if the feared Godfather called off his henchmen. 

'I hope you haven't been using Taffia tactics on your governing board.' I cautioned. Threatening  governors that you'll have them 'sleeping with the fishes' if they vote against you, is contrary to the National Governors' Association Code of Conduct. 

'Don't worry' Sky shot back, 'no one's voted against me since the last one got zapped by Robo-Clerk.' 

I'm sure there must be a rule in the Governance Handbook against weaponising the clerk. Apparently, it wasn't deadly, but still. 

The session ended and Sky was eager to leave as soon as possible. Christmas was coming and Bathsheba expected something really special, and expensive, and unique as a present. Or there'd be trouble. And Solomena was beginning to take after her mother. There are some things than not even Robo-Clerks can fix. 

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