A report published by the Conservative pressure group, the 1690 Take No Prisoners Committee, has recommended that state schools should be run even more like businesses; in particular restaurants were cited as a suitable model for schools of the future.
At a press conference to launch the report, Danny Shorthouses, committee chairman and former head of the Yorkshire sandwich empire 'We Make Butties' said, 'if more schools were run like restaurants we wouldn't have so much disaffection among young people and truancy rates could be significantly reduced.'
Asked to elaborate Mr Shorthouses said that schools could operate a menu system whereby teachers would prepare at least five lessons for every one they do now so that pupils would have a real choice.
'If I were to offer just cheese and tomato sandwiches in my shops I'd go out of business very quickly,' he said.
Under the new plans teachers could also be required to wear waiters' uniforms and carry small notebooks and pencils. Shorthouses said the extra preparation involved could be performed by teams of midgets employed at little additional cost thereby sparing teachers an increased workload.
A source close to the government said that the report is expected to be fast-tracked and given Cabinet approval by next Thursday.
However, the report has met with a storm of criticism from across the political spectrum. Teachers unions have called for a day of fasting to protest about its possible implementation. Conversely, Labour Education spokesman Philip Chancer thought the report lacked ambition and said that his party would ensure at least ten choices per lesson for all pupils.
Liberal Democrat spokesman Sylvan Glade complained that the proposals hadn't been properly costed.
'We should be very careful before we throw the baby out with the bath water,' he said.
Patrician Tory Sir Hugh Hunter-Gatherer, a stern critic of his own party, said, 'we should let teachers teach, doctors doctor and dentists dentist.'
Prime Minister David Cameron has sought to dampen down the protests by saying that schools would be free to model themselves on any business, not just restaurants or sandwich shops.
'Some schools may wish to keep an open mind and consider something along the lines of an old style ship yard,' he said. 'This would have the benefit of enabling teachers to be employed on a completely casual basis whereby they would turn up in the morning on spec in the hope of a day's work. In this way schools would become places of innovation and creativity rather than havens of backwardness and restrictive practices.'
When challenged on the use of the term 'backwardness' the PM apologised and said that he had meant 'retardedness'.
Mr Shorthouses said that in a recession parents did not expect a cordon bleu menu and that many children would be happy with the academic equivalent of chips and egg. However, he guaranteed that the three condiments of salt, pepper and vinegar would always be available in state-funded restaurant-schools.
Jamie Oliver was said to be confused by the report but is due to fly in by helicopter to meet Mr Shorthouses at one of his weekly surgeries.(Mr Shorthouses is being treated for psoriasis of the liver).
Sir Hugh Hunter-Gatherer is available for engagements as an after dinner speaker.