Chalk Talk: Can Singapore's schools really teach us a lesson?
Richard Garner has been Education Editor of The Independent for 12 years and writing about the subject for 34 years. Before becoming a journalist, he worked as a disc jockey in London pubs and clubs and for a hospital radio station. His main hobbies are cricket (watching these days) and theatre. On his days off, he is most likelt to be found at Lord’s or the King’s Head Theatre Club.
Thursday 15 March 2012
MPs on the influential Commons select committee for education have recently been on a trip to Singapore to see if they can pick up some tips from one of the world's top performing education systems that would help us over here.
They are not the only ones to extol the virtues of the Singapore education system in the past few weeks. Education Secretary Michael Gove is mightily impressed, too.
Perhaps the final word on the subject, though, should rest with Mark Dawe, chief executive of the OCR exam board. In evidence to the select committee, he said: "Singapore is the size of the Isle of Wight with a population half that of London and you get arrested if you drop chewing gum on the ground, so you have to be careful what you compare yourself with." Precisely.
All is still not well on the academies front in Haringey, north London, where Mr Gove has been trying to force four schools to become academies against their will. Most have now bowed to pressure – but it seems that reluctantly converting to academy status is not an end of the matter: Mr Gove's department then wants to choose their sponsors for them.
Coleraine Park primary school wanted to explore whether another sponsor it had in mind would be more suitable than the Harris Federation favoured by the Department for Education. The answer was apparently "no".
I know the Harris federation has done wonders in turning schools around, but you have to wonder if it is right to give the Secretary of State not only powers to insist schools become academies but also to recommend the charity that then sponsors them. Just imagine if the job ever fell into unenlightened hands.
Game of Thrones author George RR Martin says 'f*** you' to fans who fear he will die before finishing Westeros saga
Instagram of US airport security chiefs: Lipstick knives and IED training kits among items seized
‘Ryan Gosling got someone pregnant and it's not me. Brazil you think you’re devastated…’
Israel-Palestine crisis: ‘We just want it to end… We don’t deserve to live like this’
Israel-Palestine crisis: Eight killed in Gaza Strip cafe while watching World Cup semi-final
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
There’s a nasty smell in the political air – and it’s coming from the Tories
Vanessa Feltz criticises 'vile' reaction to Rolf Harris allegations
- 1 Howard Jacobson: Let's see the 'criticism' of Israel for what it really is
- 3 Belgium fan Axelle Despiegelaere lands L'Oreal campaign after World Cup viral photo
- 4 Britney Spears sings 'Alien' without Auto-Tune in embarrassingly brilliant leaked audio clip
- 5 PornHub begs users to stop uploading video clips of Brazil getting beaten 7-1
£10000 - £15000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: The JobWe are now rec...
£18000 - £25000 per annum + DOE, OTE £40000: SThree: LONDON - BRISTOL - DUBLIN...
£21588 - £36756 per annum + negotiable: Randstad Education Chelmsford: ICT/Com...
£110 - £120 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: **...