Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

The Acid Test

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

The Acid Test

Article excerpt

Whatever the general election campaign is about, it sure ain't education! OK, so we're getting the odd titbit on subjects such as testing infants (more, more, more) or funding adult education (less, less, less) but that's pretty much it.

About all we can hope for is that an MP, scratching around for a way of getting his name in the papers, will come up with some extraordinary, totally irrelevant idea to get the educational juices flowing again.

Just in time, Andrew Bridgen, Conservative MP for North West Leicestershire, has offered up this gem: make teachers sit A-level exams alongside their pupils. Enforcing this policy, he told the Mail on Sunday, would "drive up educational standards". And there's the obvious subtext, of course, that some of them might not score too well, thus enabling critics to dump bucketloads of excrement on them from a great height.

Or, to put it in Bridgen's own words, "How can they be expected to pass on their knowledge to students to allow them to succeed in the exam if they themselves could not?"

Bridgen, you won't be surprised to hear, hasn't actually worked in education himself. He trained as an officer in the Royal Marines, but before he entered politics his career mostly revolved around running the family vegetable processing business. He seems to subscribe to the theory that in reality teachers have little to do besides sitting around moaning about how much they have to do.

Certainly if his little wheeze were ever put into practice, educators would have a whole lot more to contend with. …

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