Twas the week before Christmas, and schools through the land
Were relieved that the end of term was at hand.
Teachers used whiteboards to screen seasonal flicks
While heads CRB-checked all passing St Nicks.
Headteachers were furious they soon would be getting
A "disproportionate" system for barring and vetting.
To their wondering ears, someone heeded their calls:
A u-turn, of sorts, was announced by Ed Balls.
Checks on once-a-month visitors will now be retracted. Balls claimed it was schools that had "overreacted".
So how many parents will face vetting vexations?
Up to nine million, from the Mail's calculations.
The academies' scores were dismissed as big fables For they used BTECs and DiDAs to climb the league tables.
The think-tank that found this stressed they weren't snobs,
But didn't think the courses would help kids get jobs.
An MPs' committee backed the home educators (Which may stop their moans that "Everyone hates us").
Their numbers are "growing" - but can that be true?
As they refuse to be registered we haven't a clue.
New nativity plays made traditionalists weep, As Jesus "has been replaced by an angel or sheep".
So said a vicar from Cheltenham, who seemed not to know
That, in The Grumpy Sheep, Jesus still stars in the show.
A Coventry primary showed even more mettle Producing a hooliganised version of Hansel and Gretel.
A yobbish Gretel tells Hansel, in a scene of great tension:
"I'll break your neck if you tell her that I pinched her pension".
The play's bleak humour helped it do plenty of business,
But one parent moaned that it "killed the spirit of Christmas".
"Which spirit was that?" tired teachers might think.
Merry Christmas to all - you may need a stiff drink.
By Michael Shaw. Published in TES, Cymru edition18 December, 2009