Chalk Talk: It's best to check your spelling before making war on failing schools
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 12 January 2012
A word in your ear, Education Secretary Michael Gove. You might like to get your speech-writer to check whether his or her spellchecker is functioning properly.
It is the sort of error that anybody could make but the word "blazers" was spelt "blasers" in the speech he delivered at an academy last week accusing his opponents of being "happy with failure".
Not the sort of mistake that the self-proclaimed champion of standards should make. He is lucky the tabloids are in such a forgiving mood as a result of the Leveson inquiry into media standards.
He did hit the nail on the head, though, when he referred to a local newspaper report that put the headline "Hands Off Our Failing School" on a story about opposition to a primary school in Haringey, north London, being forced to adopt academy status.
Surely it should be all hands to the pump if a school is failing?
To a windswept Leeds and a nice touch at the North of England education conference.
Normally, its annual dinner is a shindig that allows the bigwigs from the world of education and the local authorities to get together.
However, under its new president Mick Waters – former director of the national curriculum at the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, one pupil in care from every secondary school in the city was invited to the dinner. It meant that those bigwigs that were there could listen to the authentic voice of the child.
My thanks, too, to Professor Dylan Wiliam, emeritus professor of education at London University's Institute for Education, for a wry take on some of the current educational developments.
He pointed out that perhaps no-one should have been surprised that focussing on stretching gifted and talented children in state schools was followed by evidence of a growing social mobility gap in performance.
The answer, though, he thought, was not to ignore the needs of the gifted. A better way of improving performance, he argued – tongue ever so slightly in cheek – might have been to offer every pupil a bribe of £1,000 to improve their test scores. It might even have worked out cheaper in the long run.
Senior male nurse filmed himself raping unconscious women in A&E
Costa Concordia: Shipment of Mob drugs was hidden aboard cruise liner when it hit rocks off Italian coast, investigators say
Iran nuclear talks: Prospect of deal with Iran pushes Saudi Arabia and Israel into an unlikely alliance
A new (old) cure for MRSA? Revolting recipe from the Dark Ages may be key to defeat infection
Jeremy Clarkson 'could be given minder' ahead of a potential Top Gear return
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
- 1 Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
- 2 Replica Back to the Future Hoverboard released
- 3 Gamers confess the worst things they've done in The Sims
- 4 Dylan Moran on quitting smoking, being about as sexy as the Pope and why comedy panel programmes are 'c*ck shows'
- 5 Modern society encapsulated in five seconds
£25,880 – £28,610 per annum: Imperial College London: Imperial College London ...
£26,976 - £31,614 per annum: University College London: UCL Information Servic...
£30 - 32k (DOE): Guru Careers: We are seeking an Instructional / e-Learning De...
£30500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Schools Education & Careers Executive ...