Under our own, normal, everyday world there is, hidden away an ancient landscape. It is populated by huge reptilian beasts who lumber placidly from tree fern to tree fern, masticating slowly on the succulent leaves. This is the land that time forgot a fantastical place where species that should have disappeared a millennia and more ago still not only survive but thrive.
Cut to an overheard conversation on the fast train out of St Pancras on a wet Monday afternoon. Two men sit on opposite sides of a table. They just made it into the carriage before departure and are a bit breathless from the run along the platform. Both carry A4 folders brimming with paper. Folder and paperwork alike are marked with the logo of one of the national examination boards. Well that didn't tell us much that we didn't already know declares one of the (clearly) teachers. That initiates a conversation that is to last for a quarter of an hour. The headline points of the dialogue are:
The hotel venue was a bit hot and stuffy.
The coffee was nice at reception.
The main speaker didn't seem to know why she was there and it didn't seem to have much to do with the topic of the day but she was quite interesting.
The exam board hadn't been able to give any insight into the plans of the DfE.
The powerpoint was worthy of a half hour read through, not being presented for the rest of the day.
Lunch was tasty and there was plenty of it.
It was really a case of carry on as you are until things became more clear.
It was good that it finished early because that way we could catch the early train.
So, let's do the sums. Two members of staff covered for a full day - £500? Two places on a full day course - £400? Assuming an 80% timetable on an average 6 period day around nine classes with a substitute, presumably non-specialist teacher.
The dinosaurs were able to exist for so long because of a stable and, to them, benign climate. Once that changed everything else fell apart very quickly. Why has a comet not struck the earth upon which low impact away day professional development still seems to thrive?