By Euro Weekly News Media • 30 September 2011 • 9:00
“UK Education Secretary, Michael Gove, today announced plans to enable primary school teachers to run elite military units.” Yes, I made that up but you get the idea where this story’s going.
It’s said that in London you’re never more then nine feet from a rat. Well, on a visit to the capital over the Summer, I was less than that – scarcely inches from hundreds of screaming, rioting feral kids.
Then I read about the proposed Phoenix free school in Oldham for deprived children to be staffed ‘exclusively’ by ex-soldiers and said to offer its students ambitious academic goals, outdoor activities and a demonstration of ‘martial values’. Great, I thought!
“So, look sharp there, Form 1B squaddies! From 0900 until 1200, it’s basic tank-driving and bayoneting; from 1300 until 1600, marching skills and square bashing!”
Now, have I got this right? Teachers are trained to teach children. Soldiers are trained to, er, kill people.
On the face of it, the idea of this proposed school is truly amazing. It makes about as much sense as selecting people for the SAS special forces entirely from the membership of the NUT. But really, isn’t the idea of teachers as enforcers where we’ve been heading all this time anyway? After all, isn’t that why nobody wants to be a teacher anymore?
Government policy and the refusal to exclude badly behaved children have made schools so woefully undisciplined that only those who enjoy endless confrontation would want to put themselves through teaching in them.
It’s been getting to the point where what seems to be required by the job spec isn’t a trained subject specialist any more but rather a glorified bouncer. This is just the logical conclusion of that process.
Another issue for me is that the school is described as ‘exclusively’ ex-military. If I wanted to run a school staffed exclusively with MPs or bankers or hedge-funders, would anyone think that a good idea?
And implicitly blaming the riots on inadequacies in the teaching profession is a huge jump in logic too. The idea that former soldiers should become teachers and that this will somehow put the country instantly to rights is equally illogical. I accept that more male role models are needed, but looking exclusively to the military for them is not the answer.
It might mean, though, that the next riots at least have that precision military edge …
Nora Johnson’s novel, The De Clerambault Code (www.nora-johnson.com) available at Amazon in paperback and as eBook. Profits to Cudeca.
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