Saturday, April 4, 2015

Barclays Academy

I was watching Arsenal v Liverpool, with the traditional manager sideline shots (Wenger, putting a coat on; Rodgers, hands in pockets; both, in V-neck sweaters).

It occurred to me that, collectively, Premiership managers look like the staff of an under-performing boys' independent school.

Who really don't get on.

So obviously I went with that.

Arsene Wenger is headmaster. He's been there forever and has to deal with balancing the books, admin, student recruitment, basically everything. But he wouldn't have it any other way. Also teaches French. He has a very different approach from Deputy Head Brendan Rodgers, who takes PSE.

In the Humanities department, it's something of a mixed bag. Newly-appointed Louis van Gaal teaches Geography, and while he has some very interesting anecdotes about his own travels, tends not to stick to the lesson plan so students can become confused, as can everyone else. Tony Pulis takes History, where he has comprehensive knowledge and is very organised, although has had some unfortunate disciplinary issues in the past. Jose Mourinho is in charge of both Politics and Philosophy, and does get results, but can make some contradictory arguments, and many of his students are prevented from expressing themselves fully and at risk of burn-out. Mark Hughes takes Critical Thinking, and on RE, it's Gus Poyet, who has some difficulty getting his students to actually turn up.

In the Arts department, Mauricio Pocchettino is in charge of Foreign Languages, which has quite a high influx of students each year. On English and Drama, it's Chris Ramsey - we'll be honest, they aren't very good, but he manages to stay cheerful. Manuel Pellegrini looks a little tired and put-upon as Classics master, as many people believe he should be getting better results. Steve Bruce takes Art.

In the Sciences department, Ronald Koeman is head, focussing particularly on Chemistry. Sam Allardyce is the slightly aggressive Maths and Economics master who may need to be replaced in the summer, while Garry Monk is an extremely popular younger teacher for ICT students. Sean Dyche's position is possibly in danger as the school may stop offering CDT courses in the future, and Alan Pardew is a little aggrieved as he thinks that Business Studies should be more highly rated by the school.

Elsewhere, Roberto Martinez takes Home Economics, and is rather well thought of, but there were some criticisms of that trip to Europe he organised recently (although he is by no means the only teacher who had that problem). Tim Sherwood heads up the PE department, but yearns for more responsibility. Nigel Pearson is in charge of extra-curricular activities including the CCF and Duke of Edinburgh schemes (lots of hiking). John Carver sort of fills in wherever. There's some doubt as to his qualifications.

Obviously, many more staff are needed to run a school. In the admin office, Greg Dyke tries to keep on top of things. Dr Carneiro has mostly given up explaining to people that she isn't just the school nurse. And with numerous former staff and students, including former Economics teacher Harry Redknapp, working in the media, there's a lot of attention that isn't always helpful.

But they bumble on. While results may not compare favourably to similar schools on the continent, they have solid financial backing, so despite some concerns from parents about the financial model, they are in no immediate danger of going to the wall.