Having rolled the stone up the hill, we know full well that at the end of the next reporting cycle we will be required to do it all over again. The myth of Sisyphus being a metaphor for futility, it is surely not appropriate here. Think again.

For the issue of transparency in school performance is not as transparent (aha) as Queen Julia has been making out to the Americans. (That must have been a riveting speech, by the way.) Gloriana believes that there is a conspiracy to keep the teacher’s traditional enemies, the parents, in the dark. A parent, so the regal logic goes, needs to be armed with all the relevant statistics to better assess school performance.

And what are they are going to do with this information, prithee? Presumably hassle a teacher and not a politician. To the whole notion of transparency, then, there has been rich laughter ringing down the school corridors. Consider only the issue of the Victorian Education Learning Standards, the dreaded VELS. These arcane descriptors divided into ‘dimensions’ and ‘domains’ (thank you to the alliterative wag who came up with those), are an attempt to describe to parents what the educational process actually involves.

So there is ‘creativity’ and ‘working in teams’ and ‘listening skills’ and half a dozen other ‘strands’. From the first year of primary school through to Year 10, the student crawls towards the magical number – 6. If you’re a prodigy you might conceivably achieve a 7. Whacko. Give the kid a cigar.

The compilation of the VELS scores are time-consuming and tedious and largely meaningless.

Not because teachers and students and parents should not be meditating on what comprises a good education but because THE F-CKING PARENTS DON’T READ THE VELS. They want to know whether little Phil or Fong or Fatimah has passed and how well, and go straight to the grade mark. They will also read the comments, nice or otherwise, that we write.

But these too are examples of opacity in the guise of transparency. For most schools now draw from a comment bank in preference to remarks unique to the individual. If a comment bank saves the illiterate (read sports and maths teachers) embarrassment and discourages the kind of honesty that can lead to a libel action, in the end it gives out generic formulae which mean sweet Fanny Adams.

This is transparency on such a fine scale that you could read the sports pages through it. If the government wants more transparency then perhaps it can set an example by telling us where a proportion of the federal money earmarked for infrastructure went – because it hasn’t gone to schools. Or why schools are being given money to build structures they don’t want. Or, since we’re embarked down this road, why private schools, which don’t need the money, are given carte blanche to build whatever they want.

Another swimming pool, headmaster? Why ever not? And let’s fill it with more of that lovely lolly. Splendid idea. Because there isn’t any water. Transparency? This a certain case where there is no light, only darkness visible.