As more bad news pours out of the empire of Education Secretary Michael “Oiky” Gove, one might expect all hands to be rallied to the pumps in order to improve the situation, but that though would be misplaced. The @toryeducation Twitter feed, run by “Oiky’s” advisors Dominic Cummings and Henry de Zoete, has hit on a more convenient strategy – kick someone else.
Yes, "Oiky", your polecats
So the controversy over Gove’s refusal to submit to Laura McInerney’s Freedom of Information (FoI) request gets no attention at all. Nor does the ruckus over Kings Priory School on Tyneside, where there were accusations of teaching creationism – or that creative accounting wheeze that wiped out a £5 million debt so the new and very wonderful Academy could open debt-free.
And the polecats were totally schtum when the head of Bradford’s Kings Science Academy was hauled in by West Yorkshire Police for a chat about a word called Fraud. The silence continued as primary Academies in Guildford and Worcester lost their head teachers, and was maintained when Parkfield Free School in Bournemouth announced a move out of town to the nearest airport.
Plus, as the man said, there’s more: Barnfield Federation, which runs three academies, a free school and a college in Bedfordshire – hmm, wonder which MP might be watching that one – is now under investigation over its “adequacy of financial controls”. That means the kind of thing that one takes for granted with local authorities – no audit trail, no spending.
Meanwhile, the National Audit Office has “criticised the methods by which civil servants assessed the finances of more than 2,800 academies”, finding that “The Department for Education has failed to show that academy schools have spent public money in line with Treasury guidelines”. So what are “Oiky’s” polecats going to do about that? Simples. They’re going to kick Nick Clegg.
“Clegg is babbling about the need for new guidance on sex education ... employers should take sexual harassment very seriously ... totally failing in his own duties ... Clagg blurts rubbish about DfE and sex ed”. Memo to Dom and Hen: you’ve been called out for harassment yourselves, and I’d avoid using “babbling” in any future DfE briefing, just in case someone’s watching and joins up the dots.
But they weren’t through with Clegg bashing: “Next time Clegg’s gang briefs on the numbers for FSM and uses words like ‘liar’ remember this quote”. I somehow think what will be remembered is two goons who are being paid out of taxpayers’ money abusing their office to kick the party with which they are supposed to be in Coalition. And they must hope they remain undiscovered.
Otherwise both they and Gove will be toast. That would be interesting to see.