"Boo-hoo", screamed the tantrum-prone emperor at his education secretary. "I want a new school that no other emperors have, even if there is no empirical evidence that it works. "Of course your majesticness", the emperor's education secretary grovelled. She walked away wondering what crazy idea she could come up with.
The next week the emperor's education secretary unveiled the new building which was sparkly and full of expensive equipment.
"What a beautiful school!" exclaimed the emperor.
"It's not a school", replied the emperor's education secretary. "It's an academy".
"Wow, that sounds impressive!" said the emperor.
"Not as impressive as the meaningless words I've put in the glossy prospectus", said the emperor's education secretary. "Listen -standards, aspiration, excellence, outstanding and success. Say them enough times and the plebs will swallow it".
"That's brilliant", said the emperor. "I especially like the smoke and mirrors in the atrium".
"Yes, and the public won't have a clue what's going on because they'll be dazzled by the shiny blazers, smartly-pressed trousers and glowing words", grinned the emperor's education secretary. "Also you don't need to employ qualified teachers, you can pay them what you like, you own the land and there's no democratic accountability. Then to top it all you just tell them that it's the law.
"Wonderful", squealed the emperor, " but won't the public eventually see through it?"
"No", replied the emperor's education secretary, "Remember the new suit of clothes I organised for you last year? They still think you look great in that".