Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Some Food For Thought For Mr Gove...

It's always entertaining to hear from the likes of Tom Utley, isn't it? The latest travail is a train ride that few will find all that remarkable:
From the flow of their conversation – or shrieking-match, to be more accurate – I gathered that the combatants were sisters, although when I risked a glance over my shoulder, I saw that they must have had different fathers, since one was white, the other of mixed race.
I’d say the white one, whose hair was pulled tightly back into a Croydon face-lift bun, was in her mid-thirties, while the other was in her late-twenties. But I may be wildly wrong. Enough to say that both faces bore the ravages of lives rough-lived, while their voices were indistinguishable, each sounding like Kathy Burke’s Waynetta Slob from the Harry Enfield Show.
By the standards of MacHeath's example, this was quite a tame show, with only Mr Utley's ears & fragile nerves assaulted...
By the time we reached my stop, everyone in the train – those who could understand English, anyway – was aware that one of the sisters had a ‘boo-i-foo, innocent little boy, wot you don’t deserve’, while the speaker who had questioned her sister’s worthiness to be a mother was to be permanently denied access to her angelic nephew, from that moment on.
Chavs. Don't we just love 'em?
As we rolled our eyes in mutual sympathy, two of the week’s news stories played over in my head. One was the advice offered to schoolgirls by the editor of the Tatler, Kate Reardon, that good manners are more important than good grades when it comes to forging a career.
The other was the warning from Professor David Metcalf, head of the Government’s Migration Advisory Committee, that the British school system’s betrayal of less academically inclined pupils is forcing employers to look overseas to fill low-skilled jobs. Too many school-leavers, he said, lack not only the rudiments of literacy and numeracy, but even the most basic skills to ‘look people in the eye and get out of bed’. As I listened to those shrieking harridans, I could understand all too well what both he and Ms Reardon meant.
And here we see the difference between 'Mail' and 'Guardian' journalists - both may want to improve the lot of the benefit classes, but only one thinks that not changing their behaviour is perfectly OK.
Everyone accepts that grammar schools offer a brilliant start to clever children. But isn’t it also possible that separate schools, geared specifically to dinning the three Rs, basic manners and vocational skills into the unacademic, would serve the underclass far better than comprehensives?
Who'd we find to teach in these schools, and what would we have to pay them..?!?


Robert the Biker said...

"Who'd we find to teach in these schools, and what would we have to pay them..?!?"

Judge Dredd?

Anonymous said...

Ex drill sergeants.

Preferably, 1 Para.

Macheath said...

Thanks for the link!

Your post seems to have jinxed poor Mr Gove, cast into the outer darkness within minutes of its publication.

Anonymous said...

Nasty Gove, a MAN, yes...a MAN... who had the temerity to try and push up standards. No doubt more effeminate, left wing handwringing diversity driven bollocks is on the cards for our parlous education system. Still, they all looked very fashionable didn't they.

Mark Wadsworth said...

I'm not sure why somebody would equate 'unacademic' with 'underclass'?

I've met plenty of posh people who were as thick as pig shit (and were too stupid to realise is) and plenty of clever people in manual jobs (who were far too modest about how clever they actually were).

Obviously, clever people do better in life and stupid people do worse, but that's inevitable.

andy5759 said...

For a moment I saw "handwringing" as handwriting, the left wing promised us joined up government yet still need to master joined up writing.

Macheath said...

It's one of the things that make my blood boil: we were repeatedly told in teacher training not to correct pupils' - oops, learners' - grammar or pronunciation and never to demand of them the sort of manners described sneeringly as 'middle-class' because it might not be 'culturally appropriate'.

The result has deprived thousands of young people of the communication skills and social confidence that would have made them far more employable in a competitive market.

MW, a cynic might suggest that those 'thick as pigshit' posh people (or, for that matter, left-wingers made good) aren't going to want state school pupils competing with their children for university places or jobs - and that friends in high places can promote education policies to keep hoi polloi in their place.

MTG said...

Our National Chav Problem, which I am loath to recognise as being out of control, was created by successive governments. Therefore the Gordian knot is theirs to rectify...hopefully with minimal inconvenience to the rest of us.

National Service and effective birth control are attractive long term solutions. But the problem is one which also attracts a sly glance towards Lebensunwertes Leben. I hastily mitigate a brief political excursion with my suggestion of making drugs freely available and lacing the latter with potent contraceptives.

Anonymous said...


I'm with Macheath on the concept that the education policies are to keep the toiling masses down, and not promote social mobility. It does seem to be working unfortunately.

JuliaM said...

@MacHeath: I know! Poor guy.

@Mark Wadsworth: It's a rather peculiar failing of the Left, isn't it?