The Ministry for Education revealed a plan to increase the levels of student performance in British schools today by eliminating what it identified as the bane of the modern classroom, failure.
“Failure, as a concept, no longer exists in the modern British education system.” said Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove. “For decades now, we’ve fostered an environment in which students meet some of the harsh realities of life: not getting what they want, having to comply with a set of structures and rules and in some cases failing exams and classes. Ultimately this has fostered a culture of competitiveness and the disaffected individuals who bloom from this insidious gestation period end up being a scourge on our streets.
In a modern Britain, there is no place for failure and we have eliminated it from the curriculum because it is failing our children.”
While the policy change seemed to be met with enthusiasm from Ministry officials, who released balloons, party string, and provided free cake with pink icing at this afternoon’s press conference, journalists covering the event remained perplexed.
One BBC journalist asked for clarification on the policy which ended up in a running dialogue. “Excuse me Minister, is this a simple case of lowering standards so that a larger number of students will pass national exams and the like, thereby reducing the national failure rate?”
“Not at all,” retorted Gove, “we’ve spent a lot of money hiring independent consultants to look at the failure rate and the systemic issues with student performance within Britain’s schools. They noted that nearly a million kids are dropping out of schools and are not pursuing on-going education - they’ve failed essentially and we can’t have that, it makes us look bad as a nation. The answer, from our perspective, was simple – remove the failure.”
“But how exactly, Minister, are you going to do that? What are you putting in place of failure and how are you going to make sure that students don’t fail?”
“We’re focusing on the positives instead of the negatives. We’re not looking at what kids can’t do, or won’t, we’re celebrating what they can do and rewarding it.”
“I’m confused Minister?”
“And that’s exactly how kids and parents feel under the current system and we need to prevent that feeling of loss. I can see the deer in the headlights look in your eyes now, it’s an experience teachers have on a daily basis - it’s terrifying – are you alright?”
“But, Minister, won’t some students still fail under the new policy anyway?”
“Technically they won’t ‘fail’, as you term it.”
“Why not, Minister?”
“Because we’ve removed it from the lexicon - it’s no longer part of the curriculum or education policy at all any more. I have a team of people shredding old documents as we speak. Schools are being asked to revamp their reporting systems and the whole concept will disappear in about three weeks we estimate.”
The Minister would not be drawn into further discussion on the new policy. It was revealed by aides that a copy of the new curriculum would be issued to every student’s desk by mail as a more efficient means of delivering the curriculum, rather than relying on teachers to misinterpret the policy or subverting it as they have been for years.