The Sausage Analogy

Just sticking to a national comparison, the length of a sausage might vary from 5cm for a cocktail sausage to 15 cm for regular links and right up to 50 cm for a coil of Cumberland Sausage. Include a Black Pudding at 40 cm (Bury Market is established as the world centre of excellence) and we have a wealth of award-winning comparisons, if a little non-standard. The Sausage King believes there to be over 500 British varieties alone.

The Government’s insistence on a longer school day seems based simply on the assumption that longer is better. Surely, it depends what you do with it? There is no evidence base, other than the stats about range.

The qualities that make a champion sausage are listed, at the Ludlow Sausage Festival, as:

  • taste,
  • smell,
  • appearance,
  • texture, and
  • the saleability of the sausage.

Nowhere does length come into it.

As Stacey and Gavin prepare for their marriage, they attend a service at Stacey’s local Church. The Vicar’s sermon that day asks the congregation what is their favourite sandwich. Sausages are much the same, I suspect, with each of us having a different preference and a different preference for each purpose – the right BBQ banger (Cauldron Cumberland) is not necessarily right as a hot dog (M&S Veggie Posh Dogs) or in Toad in the Hole (Richmond Meat-free), all in my opinion.

If you want a school day that meets the needs of ‘honest, hard-working parents’ (a Government favourite target group) and it probably needs to stretch from 07:30 to well after 18:00, to provide cheap and easily accessible child-care.

If your school day is to provide all that Public Schools offer, then 24 hour a day residential is needed – Barnard Castle School is available at just over £21,000 per annum, on a 33-week year. They do long days, and Saturdays for sport. They charge about 5 times the average per pupil funding for state schools.

But it should not be about length – it should be about quality. What goes into a sausage, and how you cook it, is surely more important than the length of a link? Great teachers, great teaching, great resources, great facilities, great support, great relationships, great thinking, great engagement and inclusion all are essential for a great school day – they are the taste, smell, appearance, texture and saleability of the school.

A pork sausage only has to contain 32% pork, and much of that might be ‘mechanically recovered’: hopefully the school day is to include more than 32% quality teaching and learning or what is the point in seeking to increase the length of the school day?

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