Lilliania-May Thompson is 36. She works in social care and reads The Guardian’s Education section. She has considered Steiner education but couldn’t afford it. Her daughter Alfafa Bean is in Year 2.
“Of course the whole thing is a scandal. I don’t even know what they’re rated for and they take no account of alternative means and methods of education. Who says playing all day isn’t conducive to developing four year olds? Or that vegetarian only school lunches don’t provide proper nutrition? These people would have them sat in rows of desks repeating their times tables by rote and getting slapped with a ruler if they dare speak out.”
Reporter: “And what is the rating of Alfafa Bean’s school?
“Well it’s outstanding. It has been since they started inspecting I believe.”
Reporter: “And how did you get her in?”
“Well I may have fiddled the council’s residency records a bit.”
Oliver Bastard is a commodity trader for a firm of Swiss Nazi brokers in the city, specializing in jackboot futures. He likes rugby, champagne and following Jeremy Clarkson on twitter. His son Timothy is in Year Two at Station Primary.
“Bloody good idea I say! Makes sure they’re learning with the right kind of chap if you catch my drift. I didn’t gazump that Web Designer for the house right next to Timmy’s outstanding school for nothing you know. Now he’ll be able to read and write properly before we send him off to spend his teenage years in buggery and cold showers. An entire education spent without having to speak to a fucking chav. I just wish they did Latin.”
Reporter: Because it’ll be useful at private school?
“No you idiot, because it makes you fucking miserable and I had to go through it.”
Sara, 29, is a teacher at a satisfactory school. Her son Sam attends the nearest school to her house which has just been rated as “good”. He’s in reception.
“To be honest we’ve had so many inspections where I work and yet I’m sure we’re marked down simply for being in the catchment area of Bernie Grant House over there (here she points to a burned out shell of a block of flats with an Uzi poking out of a top floor window, clearly visible from the Head’s Office at her employer’s, Shameless Primary). We put Sammy in to the nearest school because we don’t think the OFSTED is as important as getting him and me to school on time and having some nice local friends to play with. In any case they always mark you on something different. I’ve literally no idea what we’ll be marked on next.”
Reporter: Here’s Michael Gove’s latest proposal.
“If you want me I’ll be in the toilet weeping.”
Wendy, 34, is a Stay At Home Mum who is also a qualified accountant. Husband Simon is in IT. Their son Toby is due to start school in September.
“Well we’re right on the border between two good schools but when we looked at last year’s admissions it was touch and go whether we’d get in either. The nearest school to us is a church school and it’s outstanding but neither of us are religious and we just didn’t feel right sending him there. Unfortunately we didn’t quite get in either of the other two so now it looks like Toby will have to do a 3 mile return bus trip to Shameless Primary. It’s not ideal but at least they’ve cleared out the last of the crack dealers from Bernie Grant House.”
(noise of reporter choking)
Nigel, 37 lives next door to Wendy with his wife Mandy and their son Frank.
“Come in. Have a pew. And I do mean literally. They gave us that for the kitchen when we made up 60% of the collection for the new church roof. It’s amazing how connected I feel to the church despite only having gone for the last year. What’s that? No that isn’t a Richard Dawkins book on the shelf. Get out! OUT! I need to pray.”
Dave, 40, is “on benefits”. He likes Special Brew, Jeremy Kyle and farting. His son Tyrone is currently excluded.
“What’s an OFSTED? Whaaaaaarrrrrrp!”