Welcome to Torquemada Academy?

Posted in ClassroomSolidarity's blog on Mon, 31/07/2006 - 20:23,

“Ah, good morning Mr and Mrs Smith; and this must be little Leo,” gushed the unctuous, gowned and mortar-boarded Principal. Try as he might, he could barely prevent the tone of disdain edging into his voice as their shabby collective appearance suggested unsuitability from the outset. Had they been parents of the more promising sort he would have shepherded them on their carefully selective guided tour himself, but this was a task for Bonehead, his stupid, sycophantic, self-serving underling.
“Welcome to Torquemada Academy”, Bonehead simpered. “As you can imagine we were extremely, even sinfully, proud when Ms Malone used her contacts in high places to secure sponsorship from The Spanish Inquisition itself; something no one really expected. As you would no doubt appreciate from a cursory study of its history, The Inquisition is a perfect example of the sort of sensitive, benevolent, non-interventional sponsors so highly prized by our government as the beneficiaries of its academies programme.”
“No, no Master Leo --- the er – instruments of correction you see around you are merely historical artefacts --- never, well --- hardly ever used these days. Although we are justifiably proud of Torquemada’s disciplinary record; none of our pupils had to be exec --- er, excluded last year.”
“You will be impressed, I’m sure by the scale model re-creation of the Vatican, in bronze which, dominates our expansive foyer. A gift from the Holy Father himself, in spirit, although the actual cost of materials and construction was kindly borne by the DfES. And over here you see a display of our distinctive uniform, with our easily identifiable scarlet blazer. No mistaking who the chosen ones are, eh; especially when the less privileged of the locality note the child – with – shining – halo logo, and our motto: ‘Holier Than Thou’, glowing resplendent in gold on the breast pocket. All available at very reasonable cost, taking into account the use of the highest quality materials which, of course, serve to emphasise Torquemada’s exclusivity. How do we maintain such low prices, I hear you wonder? Contracts are only ever placed with labour efficient manufacturers in Taiwan through the good offices of The Trade and Industry Secretary.”
“If you look to your left you will see our pride and joy, our monumental information technology centre which holds sufficient equipment for each of our pupils to access two computer systems simultaneously at any one time. Ah yes Master Leo, as you rightly point out the systems on display are actually hypermarket dummy models, but we expect the real, state of the art ones to be delivered, courtesy of Mr Fence at Microripoff any day now. In the mean time pupils simply use their mobile phones for I.T. lessons, as the games modules are much the same.”
“I should also point out, while we are passing, that although several blocks of luxury apartments are being built on what used to be the school playing fields, sporting achievement is not overlooked here at Torquemada. Indeed, immediately following Mr Jaggers’ decision to allow planning permission for the apartments in order to minimise the financial risk for our associate investors, Mrs Javelin insisted that a virtual athletics programme be commissioned from Microripoff in order to prepare our young athletes for the 2012 Olympic Games. When the sports module package finally arrives it will also have the additional, beneficial side effect of completely eliminating the danger of injury except, of course, for possible repetitive strain syndrome.”
“On your right is the refectory, an exact replica of the ubiquitous ‘Burger You’ fast-food restaurants so beloved of our young people. However, bearing in mind the current crusade against obesity, and our duty to help produce the sporting heroes of the future, we have insisted on a much-modified menu for our pupils to choose from. In order to win the lucrative catering contract ‘Burger You’ agreed to cut the fat content of burgers by 10%, the salt content of fries by 10% and the sugar content of ketchup by 10%. This they achieved by cleverly cutting the size of portions by 10%, which also has the beneficial side-effect of allowing all our pupils to finish their meals in the 10 minutes when they are allowed away from their work stations for lunch. True, Master Leo, meal prices do remain at high-street levels, despite the portion adjustments, but ‘Burger You’ do generously allow Chef to teach Nutrition Vocational GCSE as a payment in kind.”
“Now that you’ve finished your little tour I’ll provide you with some information about our entry procedures, just in case you still feel that Torquemada is the sort of educational establishment to which little Leo is best suited.” The Principal reached across and opened the Smith’s file as if employing the assistance of a barge pole. “Of course, in line with New Labour admissions policy, we do not select by ability. And although only a small percentage of our pupils have your postcode, Leo is quite welcome to attend an informal interview, sit a few aptitude tests and submit a detailed letter and curriculum vitae just the same as all our other prospective pupils. You would then be in a better position to make an informed choice of school for him in the event that places were still available at Torquemada.”
“By the way, Mr Smith, your file appears to make no reference to your current employment? Oh, really? And what exactly does your company import? Homeopathic, herbal preparations from Colombia and Afghanistan --- interesting. And you’ll be prepared to sponsor our PSHE programme. Can I get you a drink? Tea, coffee or something stronger perhaps?”

Trade Unions
Issues and Campaigns

Add new comment

This website uses cookies, you can find out more and set your preferences here.
By continuing to use this website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions.