John Walsh: 'If bouncers stand in for teachers, what on earth will the children learn?'

Related Topics

The life of a supply teacher in the Armageddon of the classroom was never a bed of roses. Called in as a pale substitute for a respected teacher who'd gone off to have a baby, had fallen ill or been sent on some "refresher course," stand-in teachers were like koalas introduced to a bear-baiting pit.

They were seldom drawn from the top drawer of the teaching profession (had they been, they'd have been employed at Winchester or Charterhouse) and they were often weird compendia of vocal tics and behavioural mannerisms. I remember one called Mr Boggis who had wild staring eyes, theatrical hand gestures and seemed determined to elongate Russian place names into "Petrograaaard" and "Vlaaaardivostock." He was a gift to the pubescent satirists and pimply assassins of Syntax II class, and he lasted two sessions before retiring in tears to the staffroom and tendering his resignation.

I can understand, therefore, what has prompted schools in the Midlands to sign up professional bouncers, club doormen and ex-military personnel to go into the killing fields that men call state secondary schools, and become "cover supervisors" – that's cover as in "Cover me, men, rapid fire, I'm going in."

It's true. The National Union of Teachers, at its annual get-together in Cardiff, has said it's alarmed to find that many school heads now hire untrained staff from the more, ah, robust professions to take classes whose teachers have gone Awol.

A Midlands employment agency called Aspire People Ltd is urging ex-Marines, firemen, stunt men and other examples of paid muscle to consider taking jobs in schools as "hardcore cover," earning £70 a day to control the kids and "get involved in a school environment."

Does this mean the bouncers will do the actual teaching as well? Surely not. Things may not be perfect in the public sector, but I don't think we're ready to have our children taught by unqualified classroom pedagogues wearing shades and Hugo Boss suits and carrying clipboards. But if the new brand of bouncer-teachers were to be accepted in schools, what would the kids learn? About history, for instance?

Origins of the Russian Revolution.

Right. The revolution in 1917 got started because a bunch of Russian peasants wanted to get into the Winter Palace to join the nobs dancing a polka inside, right, but they weren't allowed in. They weren't on the list so no way. I'm not saying they were wrong, I'm just doing my job. Then this guy Lenin gets all mouthy, and insists the poor should all be treated same as the rich, with no red rope or nothing. The owner of the club, Sar Nicholas, says, "you poor people can't come in 'ere dressed like that, this is Smart Casual, can't you read?" But then the army only goes and mutinies and it all kicks off...

Origins of the Indian Mutiny

In 1857, right, India was like this huge Bombay nightclub, with lots of English guys behaving like they owned the place, and lots of Indians being told they were too lower -class to run the place. Everyone kept asking the Indians for ID, and talking about caste, and then they went and insisted that these religious people ate bullets covered in pork fat. Well, that's a situation waiting to happen. I don't hold with waving firearms about, someone could get hurt, I'm a bit of a diplomat, me. As for the pork fat, they could have offered some vol-au-vents or some nice club pretzels, I've seen that defuse a situation, but they wouldn't let it lie and then after the Cawnpore Massacre, it all kicked off...

Invasion of the Falkland Islands

Okay, the Falklands were like a backstreet club that everyone's forgotten and no-one knows who owns it, until this bunch of Latino ponces move in, do it up and start up the banging music until 3am. So the British say, "oi, you got some nerve, that's our club." But the Latino doormen say, "you're not coming in,'ere, it's too late, it's members- only, you're in the wrong uniform, sling your hook". We weren't 'aving that so we got this fleet of lads together, all tooled up, and hung around outside giving them a lot of eyeball. We were polite but firm, and we asked them to vacate the premises before there was any unpleasantness...

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + uncapped commission : SThree: Hello! I know most ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Performance Consultant Trainee

£22000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Consultant trainee opportunit...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - (Full marketing mix) - Knutsford

£22000 - £25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Knu...

Ashdown Group: Web Developer - ASP.NET, C#, MVC - London

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Web Developer -...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A picture posted by Lubitz to Facebook in February 2013  

Andreas Lubitz: Knee-jerk reaction to 9/11 enabled mass murder

Simon Calder
The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, presides at the reinterment of Richard III yesterday  

Richard III: We Leicester folk have one question: how much did it all cost?

Sean O’Grady
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss
Tony Blair joins a strange and exclusive club of political leaders whose careers have been blighted by the Middle East

Blair has joined a strange and exclusive club

A new tomb has just gone up in the Middle East's graveyard of US and British political reputations, says Patrick Cockburn
Election 2015: Meet the top 12 wacky candidates seeking your vote in May

Election 2015

Meet the top 12 wacky candidates seeking your vote in May
Countdown to the election: Operation Save Danny Alexander shifts into high gear as the SNP target his Commons seat

Operation Save Danny Alexander shifts into high gear

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury didn’t forget his Highland roots in the Budget. But the SNP is after his Commons seat
The US economy is under threat because of its neglected infrastructure

The US is getting frayed at the edges

Public spending on infrastructure is only half of Europe’s, and some say the nation’s very prosperity is threatened, says Rupert Cornwell
Mad Men final episodes: Museum exhibition just part of the hoopla greeting end of 1960s-set TV hit

New Yorkers raise a glass to Mad Men

A museum exhibition is just part of the hoopla greeting the final run of the 1960s-set TV hit
Land speed record: British-built hybrid rocket car aims to be the fastest on Earth

British-built hybrid rocket car aims to be the fastest on Earth

Bloodhound SSC will attempt to set a new standard in South Africa's Kalahari desert
Housebuilders go back to basics by using traditional methods and materials

Housebuilders go back to basics - throwing mud at the wall until it sticks

Traditional materials are ticking all the construction boxes: they are cheap, green – and anyone can use them
Daniel Brühl: 'When you have success abroad, you become a traitor. Envy is very German'

Daniel Brühl: 'Envy is very German'

He's got stick for his golden acting career and for his beloved restaurant - but Daniel Brühl is staying put in Berlin (where at least the grannies love him)
How Leica transformed photography for ever: Celebrating 100 years of the famous camera

Celebrating 100 years of Leica

A new book reveals how this elegant, lightweight box of tricks would transform the way we saw life on the street and in fashion, on the battlefield and across the world