Tuesday 25 November 2014

Tristram's Big Idea

Dr the Hon Tristram Hunt (University College School, Trinity Cambridge) - failed TV historian turned jut-jawed class warrior - was on the radio this morning (and in The Guardian), threatening private schools with dire punitive measures unless they do more to break down 'the Berlin Wall in our education system'. He even wants public schools (note to American readers: these are elite private schools) to send their teachers into state schools, because they have superior knowledge and expertise. I don't think there will be many volunteers (or, indeed, much point, unless he's proposing that they be re-employed - maybe that's the next step)...
 Dr Hunt should be reminded that it was comprehensive education (pursued under both Labour and Conservative governments) that erected that 'Berlin Wall'. Under the grammar school system, there was no great gulf between public schools and grammar schools; teachers in state grammar schools (as I've recalled before) had real knowledge and expertise; and products of state education would find themselves at no appreciable disadvantage even in the best universities.There was also, back in those days, such a thing as social mobility - remember that?  


  1. yeah but you cant possibly have a system that helps out the brightest and best can you? far better to hobble them and reduce everyone to the lowest common denominator...according to Tristram (educated at UCS) and his buddies

  2. “In subject knowledge, pupil confidence, co-curricular activity, staff development and alumni networks, independent schools have lessons for those in the state sector. In turn, private schools have a great deal to learn from mainstream schooling on whole-class teaching, modern British values, student engagement and, indeed, value for money.

    I think I know which side of the Berlin Wall I'd like my children to be on, although I confess I've been negligent about mastering the many wondrous benefits of whole-class teaching.