I've been watching the first episode of Channel 4's Can't Read Can't Write. Can inspirational teacher Phil Beadle teach illiterate adults what years of schooling never managed? You know the deal.
Mr Beadle is a bit of a maverick (not to mention his passing resemblance to the drummer from the Pogues) and clearly has little time for the bureaucracy that tends to stifle the learning experience. It's fair to say that he doesn't see eye to eye with the luckless Diane Hawks, who is in charge of adult literacy at Southwark College. In fact, he describes what he witnesses in a lesson as "horrendous", "depressing" and "incompetent".
We've all learned by now to be deeply wary of anything that smacks of reality TV. So I'll give the benefit of the doubt to Ms Hawks, and leave open the possibility that her words were taken out of context, edited to suit the producers' agenda, or even concocted from sophisticated voice synthesis software and mimed by her android simulacrum. Nevertheless, this is what appeared to come out of her mouth as she defended her staff in the face of Beadle's tongue-lashing:
"My teachers are following the Skills for Life work packs set down by the government and because of doing that we actually get the results at the end of the day because they pass their exams because *that* is what it's all about."
[bangs face slowly and steadily on old school desk, the kind with redundant inkwell, until five decades' worth of compass-scratch graffiti transfers itself to my forehead]