You come in the morning and stand in a row
waiting to be told just where you must go.
Stillness and silence are the most precious virtue
without them the system will be forced to subdue.
Fingers on lips and arms folded tight
if everyone behaves nicely we really just might
… get to play a game
or sing a song.
Don’t try to engage or enjoy while you are able
when the bell rings it’s quick to the next on the timetable.
They give you gold stars, house points and the rest
but only when they judge that you’ve done your best.
They keep you in line with the promise and threat
if you don’t work your hardest you’ll forever regret.
… ‘Must try harder’
or ‘a good term’s work’.
They call it blue table but everyone knows
the thickies all sit there in the corner and doze.
And as they progress through the system it seems
that the teachers they meet will crush all their dreams.
They are steered on a course that keeps them in place,
dead end jobs with no prospects at the back of the rat race.
… or maybe hairdressing
and the army, of course.
Squash down your own passions, keep them inside,
nobody cares what you want, you’re just along for the ride.
Don’t try to be different or to do your own thing
learn to blend with the crowd, individualists won’t fit in.
And if you demand some freedom and kick up a stink
they’ll pile on the homework so you’ve no time to think.
(we don’t need
no thought control)
Just answer the questions and confound all the sceptics
so they can tick all the boxes for the government statistics.
The system works hard for society and state
that’s why it’s there, don’t try to escape.
And if you take some time alone to revive your soul
they will track you and hound you with the truancy patrol.
… Education Welfare Officer
then a PRU.
They dangle before you the promises of success
but what they ask in exchange must surely depress.
Twelve years of your life, shut up in a school,
(about as much fun as twelve years in a cesspool.)
So free your mind and your life, what would I advise?
why not try taking your education …otherwise.
them kids alone)
(Notes: 1. PRU is a Pupil Referral Unit. 2. education otherwise refers to section 7 of the 1996 Education Act, where parents are responsible for providing education for their children “either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.”)
(Linking back and arriving rather late for The Poetry Bus)