Barmy system

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WHEN the late Sir Chris Woodhead claimed 15,000 teachers were grossly incompetent, most educationists (privately) thought it a sublime underestimate. 

Woodhead had been an idealistic English teacher who believed in “utopian, egalitarian solutions” but later admitted “progressive” teaching methods simply did not work. 

He said: “It’s all very well to wax lyrical about creativity and self-expression but if kids can’t read or write we have denied them basic tools of learning and that is just barmy.” 

My three brothers and I went from a mining village to elite universities and successful professional careers via a fabulous senior secondary in the nearby industrial town. 

The only way today’s parents in the same village could obtain for their child the quality of education we had from the state in the 1950s is to buy it – and that is also barmy.

(Dr) John Cameron

Howard Place

St Andrews, Fife