As I pointed out earlier today, a new set of Pisa league tables for schools will be released tomorrow. But there have been sneak previews, and for some, the temptation of getting their retaliation in first has been just too much. This has been shown to excellent effect as the loathsome Toby Young has rushed to sound off without first engaging brain.
Behold the one true Captain Bellend
“After 13 years of Labour, England's teachers are worse than Poland's” announced Tobes triumphantly this afternoon at the bear pit that is Telegraph blogs. Yes, those crafty Polish people were doing better than we were, and their teachers get paid only half what we pay ours! This means that we’re paying twice as much and not doing even as well – or maybe it doesn’t.
First, average wages in Poland are less than half what they are in the UK. How do I know this? Because Toby Young says so! Yes, the shameless Captain Bellend says that average wages in Poland are so low, then says that, by comparison to those levels, teachers are paid a similar amount to the UK, and then continues to insist that they are doing a better job at half the price.
It gets worse. The Polish school system does not allow for the choice that Tobes and his pals claim is so good for parents: all those independent schools, and Free Schools such as the one run by Himself Personally Now, would not be found in Poland. Yet he tells that their existence is A Very Good Thing, while saying we should learn from a country that doesn’t have any.
And something else Tobes hasn’t told his adoring readers (Damian and James Delingbonkers) is that he has been caught facing both ways on the question of when children start school. Last month he was telling that there were “Thirty two million reasons why children should start school at the age of two”, and now he is pointing to a country where full time education does not usually start until the age of six.
On top of that, teachers in Poland have to be suitably qualified – in other words, they have to have completed teacher training, as do those in Finland and Shanghai, two other locations where children do well in Pisa tests. But Tobes sneers at such ideas, calling the UK equivalent “a correct, union-approved ‘certificate’”, as if it is something cheap and irrelevant to the job.
So that’s four areas where Toby Young is either plain flat wrong, or is ignoring reality, in his ill-advised and unresearched effort to bang the drum for his hero Michael “Oiky” Gove. But the truly disturbing aspect of his latest rant is that someone with such a tenuous a grip on reality is allowed anywhere near having control over children’s education. That’s another area where no qualifications are required.
He’s not called Captain Bellend for nothing. Because he really is a bellend.