Went to my five year-old's parents' evening last week, where I was presented with a sheet of paper outlining his 'targets for improvment'. The one for literacy read...'I will try to understand why writers choose the words they do to express their feelings'... Has the whole country finally succumbed to this f*****g madness?! His poor teacher had to spend an evening of her life thinking up meaningless platitudes to write for parents. 30 sets of adults had to attend a parent's day (most taking precious time off work in order to do so) in order to listen to meaningless twaddle about 'raising attainment' and 'levels of progress'. Who is actually driving this cycle of ********? He's five, for Chissakes! By the way...I spend every waking hour planning, teaching and marking for 11-16 year olds, only to end up having to persuade them to attend after school sessions to catch up on coursework that they have CHOSEN not to do in lessons. Oh... and this is in my unpaid time. Reality...Me...'Do you think you should come to the coursework catch-up session on Monday after school, so that we can help you acheive the grade you are capable of?' They...'Nah, can't make it that day'. What I, and any sane individual believes we should be saying...'If, as a 16 year-old who wishes to be treated like an adult, you can't be bothered to to apply yourself in order to better your chances of a fulfilling life...then that's your funeral...but hey...if you want to take advantage of these underpaid professionals giving up their personal family time in order to make good the time you ****** up the wall...then that's part of my job description, so feel free... And the worst thing about all this?...the blameless culture. We have raised a generation to believe that nothing is EVER their own fault... 'I was failed by the system'...' I have issues you don't understand'...'I live in the land of Green Ginger'...it doesn't seem to matter. As a secondary teacher, who considers himself a fairly liberated modern bloke (40-ish, done the drink and soft-drugs thing in my youth, bummed around abroad for a couple of years in the late 80's, finally got my **** together and found a vocation I thought I'd love...I am in despair. We are failing these kids by the pseudo-psychological edu-speak we are all forced to spout at twighlight insets and training days. Any parent I've ever spoken to only wants to know two things really... (1) Are they behaving themselves? (2) Are they doing the work they should be? The rest is of no consequence...SO WHY ARE WE DOING IT?!