Ministers were last night accused of mounting a ‘Big Brother’ operation by asking schools to supply details of the cars driven by teachers.Unsurprisingly, this has been challenged by, among others, Mike Kent, the head teacher of Comber Grove Primary in Camberwell.
The bizarre request for the make, model and registration number of vehicles is among a series of sensitive personal questions included in a new Government ‘census’ of school workers, which has been greeted with fury by teachers’ leaders.
Pilot trials of the census, ahead of the scheme’s roll-out next year by Education Secretary Ed Balls, have also included requests for staff passports, their mobile phone numbers and details of their ‘ethnicity’, ‘mother tongue’ and ‘disabilities’.
And the DCFS response? 'Please sir, some big boy did it and ran away!'
Last night, the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) denied asking for car registration details and claimed that the questions must have been included by the school itself.Sadly, that didn't wash with the profession used to 'The dog ate my homework' and 'Mum said I couldn't do PE because I've got a dicky heart', so enquiries were made.
And guess what?
But a spokesman for the local authority, Southwark Council, confirmed that neither the council nor the school had added in the questions and said the form had arrived directly from Ed Balls’s department.Which prompted this 'clarification':
‘Southwark Council does not ask for extra information over what is required by the Government in the School Workforce Survey and has not asked teachers to submit car colours or registrations,’ the spokesman said.
The DCSF then issued a second statement, saying: ‘What might have happened is that the software provider of the survey has added these questions in for other schools at their request – many schools want to collect this data for their own purposes – and they’ve left them in accidentally.’Well,yes. It might.
And the more likely explanation is that you snivelling weasels in the DCFS thought no-one would mind giving this information, or that teachers could ve bullied into it, forgetting that this government is now utterly without credibility, and thrashing around like a wounded tapir in a stream full of piranhas.
Everyone's queueing up to take a piece of you.
It's going to be a long six months, Gordon. Death by a thousand cuts for you...