I drafted a submission for the Journal of Imaginary Research. It wasn’t accepted but that is ok, as I can just post it here instead… it was only ever meant as a bit of fun, as a way to practice more creative writing. I had no expectations that it would be accepted (though of course it would have been nice if it had been).
Since 2014 there has been a significant increase in parental complaints related to education, health and care for disabled students. It is widely acknowledged that the root cause is not school or local authority failings, rather the blame lies with parents who are increasingly unreasonable in their requests for support, seeking a ‘golden ticket’ for their child.
In an innovative study, four colourful self-service ‘Predict and Reject Education Needs Technology’ (PARENT) machines were introduced into twenty school lobbies, automating the application process for additional SEND support, minimising interactions with challenging parents. Parents were invited to complete a self-assessment questionnaire via PARENT, which using an advanced predictive software programme could quickly ascertain their future personality, knowledge of the SEND system and their resilience. It became possible to calculate their individual ‘risk’ of becoming a problem parent within just 20 minutes. This risk calculation determined what level of support their child could receive: ‘vulnerable newbies’ were signposted to a local support group, ‘happy acceptors’ were given a standard support plan, and ‘problematic challengers’ were required to attend a 12-month rehabilitation programme for those with challenging behaviours, after which they could apply again.
No risks were identified for the national roll-out of PARENT.
Professor C.A.L. Culate first became interested in risk calculations when playing marbles at school, as he calculated his friends’ comparative performance, choosing to only play against those most at risk of losing their marbles. He continues to play in local and national Marbles championships. Previous publications include ‘There are no humans, only risk factors’, ‘Risk: it is in the future’ and ‘Don’t lose your marbles’
Dr N.O. Need never had any marbles to lose in the first place. She was provided the necessary technical expertise to design and build the risk-assessment software, building on valuable experience in the award-winning Predict Every Risk In Litigation (PERIL) and Find, Eliminate And Reduce (FEAR) projects.
I.G. Nore is a PhD researcher and was the research assistant on this project. Prior to this study they spent over 15 years working in a Local authority SEND team identifying those ‘at-risk’, before being made redundant in a cost-cutting reshuffle, ironically a risk they had not considered.