A twiddler, A dreamer, A silly-heart, A jabber-box – all round bad egg?


People like to start with a quote – mine’s a biggie:

Buck Russell sits down and sees that Anita Hoargarth the Assistant Principal has a mole and begins to make a fool of himself before she interrupts him…

AH: I’m assistant principal here…as you’ve probably noticed from the indications on the door.
BR: This door?
AH: The outer door!
BR: The outer door.’Cause there’s nothing on this one.

AH: That’s about enough of that. I’ve been an educator for 31 point 3 years…
and in that time, I’ve seen a lot of bad eggs. I say “eggs” because at the elementary level we are not dealing with fully-developed individuals.
I see a bad egg when I look at your niece.
She is a twiddler, a dreamer, a silly heart and she is a jabberbox.
And, frankly I don’t think she takes a thing in her life or her career as a student seriously.

Anita Hoargarth drops her pencil in a dramatic and “I’m finished” kind of way.

BR: She’s only six.
AH: That is not a valid excuse! I hear that every day and I dismiss it.
BR:I don’t want to know a six-year-old who isn’t a dreamer or a silly heart. I sure don’t want to know one who takes their student career seriously. I don’t have a college degree. I don’t even have a job.

Anita Hoargarth tuts and rolls her eyes in a “how typical” kind of way.

BR: I know a good kid when I see one. Because they’re all good kids until dried-out, brain-dead skags like you drag them down and convince them they’re no good. You so much as scowl at my niece or any other kid in this school and I hear about it, I’m coming looking for you.

Buck Russell makes some comments about a mole on Anita Hoargarth’s face.

BR: Good day to you, madam.

You can see this clip here

I have written and rewritten this blog 27 times since the writing exemplification materials came out. The above quote and video sums up how I feel about how the DfE, led by Gibb and Morgan, want 6 and 7 year old children to become robots. 6 and 7 year old robots who assimilate 100% of the taught curriculum and regurgitate this into their work.

“Each of the three standards within the interim framework contains a number of ‘pupil can’ statements. To demonstrate that pupils have met a standard within this interim framework, teachers will need to have evidence that a pupil demonstrates attainment of all of the statements within that standard and all the statements in the preceding standard(s).”

Interim Teacher Assessment Framework (2015)

This is a nonsense. Do they ask students at GCSE to get 100% to pass? A-level? University? Why…WHY are they going to brand children as young as 6 as failures for not putting a f*cking what/how+subject+verb in their writing? Even if they know to put an exclamation for effect…nah.

A child might be able to reason deeply about addition, mentally subtract two digit numbers from two digit numbers including regrouping because they have a deep knowledge of number bonds and how to use them, but god help them if they really struggle with time, they can actually be put down as working towards – a failure.

I will be fighting for action until this 100% bullsh*t is taken out. Test children – but to consider them a failure in their reading, writing and Maths because they don’t have evidence of 100% – stop taking the piss.

I am so angry, I won’t stop encouraging others and the unions to work on behalf of the profession to stop what is currently going on. Otherwise, the DfE are going to have to advertise for 1000s of ‘Anita Hoargarth’ style educators, drilling the fun, enjoyment, creativity, collaboration, understanding out of the 6 and 7 year olds.

How dare they label children as failures/bad eggs.

I, like (Uncle) Buck Russell will be standing up for the 6 and 7 year olds of this country and their parents. For the right to be silly hearts and dreamers. For the right to not have to take their learning career seriously and be convinced at a young age that they are no good.

I’ve seen the damage a school can have on a child by labelling them as a failure, and I’ve seen them come out the other side with a first from University.

Gibb. Morgan. You so much as scowl at the kid(s) in this school or any other and I hear about it, I’m coming looking for you.



PS. I’m too cross to even get started on the workload created for teachers of Year 6 and 3 times as much for Key Stage 1 teachers in making sure assessments against the framework/exemplification are dead on. Meeting the lead KS1 moderator involved the word maladministration 27 times – teachers will need to quintuple check data before sending it in due to fear about getting it wrong. Another issue with evidence of 100% of all statements and all in preceding band(s). ARRRRRGGGGHHH.


12 thoughts on “A twiddler, A dreamer, A silly-heart, A jabber-box – all round bad egg?

  1. Completely agree, I work in assessment and HATE the additional pressure I see on teachers now. Considering the move from levels was originally branded as simplifying the process for teachers things have rather lost their way to say the least!


  2. The sad thing, is that given time, many children can make progress- but with this relentless need to achieve certain things in certain time frames, they are denied the opportunity.


    • Exactly that. This pressure isn’t going to sort things out for students. It’s even worse for Year 6 students who have only experienced 2 years of the new curriculum and if they’re unfortunate enough to not yet write at gcse level then they’ll be what…on a different curriculum in year 7? Let’s split up the kids into thick and not thick. What on earth?


  3. Spot on. My seven year old lovely, funny, peculiar, extrovert, imaginative little boy will be labelled as a failure in all areas. I’m telling my staff not to jump through the hoops – to teach the best they can, and assess as accurately as possible without compromising what we’re in the job for. And that’s to get the best out of all of our pupils, regardless of their little foibles or whacking great weirdnesses, and prepare them for a world where they’ll need to keep learning, failing, and learning again. And making sure that that’s what they want to do because they love learning for the sake of it, and not to please others. Great blog post – thank you.


  4. Pingback: Challenging Changes | @TeacherToolkit

  5. I’m an NQT nearing the end of a fixed term contract (Easter). The HT has informed me that I am unlikely to pass my 2nd term as cannot complete the cycle of assessment-planning-delivery accurately based on every chd’s next steps in R, W & Maths. Some of my Y1’s have not made enough progress (eg from Working Towards to Expected) and he feels that is in the best interests of the chn and school to not extend my contract.

    After 6 months of 15/16 hrs days it feels as if all my efforts have been wasted because some 5/6 year olds are not ready to be pushed at the pace ‘required’.

    It is going to be hard to sell myself to a prospective sch because one HT deems me a ‘failure’ based on the aspirations of the curriculum. It is quite possible that the demanding nature of the education system will result in the expedient demise of one new teacher; just one more statistic, but a pertinent reflection on the state of current education practice.


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