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.
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by police in Ohio park
Heroin to be prescribed to Canadian addicts by doctors
Audacious North Korean kidnap plot foiled at Paris airport as 'Asian men' attempted to bundle student onto plane
Tower Bridge glass walkway 'smashed' by night-time visitor dropping bottle of beer
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby – through the stories of his accusers
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Green Party Caroline Lucas interview: 'We could be on the edge of something very big'
- 1 Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by police in Ohio park
- 2 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 3 Naked free runner captured in breathtaking photographs above London's streets
- 4 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 5 Manchester United named Premier League's loudest fans despite late push by Chelsea according to 'Smart Meter' app
£30000 - £60000 per annum + Excellent: Austen Lloyd: Employment Solicitor - Ke...
£200 per day: Ashdown Group: Working within a business that has a high number ...
£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cardiff: We are currently recruiting f...
£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cardiff: Science Teacher -Full Time - ...