The desperation of the loathsome Toby Young knows no bounds: his latest rant at the bear pit that is Telegraph blogs continues to ignore the steady stream of bad news from all those Free Schools and Academies that he has decreed are A Very Good Thing, and instead tells readers that his idol Michael “Oiky” Gove is right because behaviour at many school is “lawless”.
You think I exaggerate? There it is in the title: “Why too many state schools are lawless zones”. Tobes talks of “the absence of the rule of law in English schools” and asserts “tens of thousands of schools have become lawless zones”, but, to no surprise at all, does not cite one example. After all, Tobes didn’t dirty himself going to a state school, and why change the habit of a lifetime?
So how does he know this is happening? Ah well. He’s been talking to a shopkeeper. This may not make sense to anyone with brain engaged and a hole in their backside, but for Tobes, talking to shopkeepers tells you all about what is going on in a nearby school. It doesn’t of course: this is arrant bullshit. But it does allow Tobes to denigrate the concept of qualified teachers.
We hear the allegation that “some teachers emerge from university education departments with Post Graduate Certificates in Education without having been a given a single lesson in classroom management” and that “graduates who emerge from the teacher training sausage factory with some vestige of common sense find little or no support for enforcing discipline among ‘senior leaders’ at their schools”.
But, by contrast, to observe the discipline of those Very Wonderful Free Schools is to truly step out into the sunlit uplands: Tobes cites Mossbourne Community Academy, where “the behaviour of all the children is impeccable”, which is all the more remarkable, because Mossbourne is “in England’s most deprived borough”. Most deprived borough? In London? Not too sure about that one.
Quite apart from the cheap accusation of illegality – which Young cannot and will not be standing up any time soon – there is the news that a majority of parental opinion is in favour of keeping a role for local authorities in the running of schools. The same poll found a majority – even among Tory voters – in favour of qualified teachers. And, by no coincidence at all, there has been another Academy in trouble.
Oldfield School, near Bath, had been the subject of a damning Ofsted report, which proposed putting for formerly “Outstanding” school in Special Measures. Its head appealed directly to Gove, and the local paper has been making Freedom of Information requests to unearth the grim story. But Tobes will not be telling his readers about such things. Instead he smears state schools as “lawless”.
Toby Young is a dishonest hypocrite. So no change there, then.