Thursday, 19 June 2014

Professional male, into strict discipline, uniforms and leather, seeks... with weak oversight to act out domination fantasies in a discreet setting.

According to sources quoted by a local paper, hundreds of pupils at an Academy school on the Isle of Wight have been punished by being taken away from their peers and curriculum or exam work and being put into 'isolation.' Pupils who contacted the paper said that those in isolation were made to sit in silence, facing the wall with their arms parallel to the desk, with Headteacher, Dr Rory Fox (formerly of Her Majesty's Prison Edmunds Hill) ‘shouting’ at them.

Sounds a bit harsh? What had the children at Ryde Academy actually done? They apparently weren't wearing regulation school uniform and this was an attempt to make them (or their parents) comply. The uniform policy seems to be administered by some arbitrary, yet exacting bureaucrat from a Kafka novel:
Confusingly, students who were not placed in isolation yesterday have today found themselves being penalised despite the uniform being acceptable on Tuesday' ... 'Speaking to parents outside Ryde Academy this morning, Island Echo has learnt that some Clarke’s school shoes – an expensive brand – are not acceptable, whilst a number of other leather shoes are not being accepted, despite the school’s policy saying shoes must be ‘leather’.
Although what is or isn't acceptable appears to be academic at this stage of the school year, since the school's own uniform suppliers don't have the the approved kit in stock and the big chains aren't offering much choice of generic school uniform items a few weeks before the Summer holidays.

The whole mess seems to stem from Dr Fox's desire to assert his own controlling, conformist vision of what education is  for 'Dealing with uniform issues helps us to improve general attitudes of co-operation and the skills of following instructions' and his specific obsession with policing female "modesty" a "problem" that seems to preoccupy authoritarians everywhere.

Furious parents are taking time off work to get their kids out of the isolation wing, while the trustees and executives of the taxpayer-funded Academies Enterprise Trust which "manages" Ryde Academy are presumably still laughing all the way to the bank.

Is this omnishambles what they mean by 'Academies – driving success through autonomy?'