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Friday 6 May 2016

Toby Young’s Final Confession

Confession, it is said, is good for the soul. So it may have benefited the loathsome Toby Young that he made that confession recently over his realisation that running schools was not quite as easy as he had constantly made out prior to the establishment of his West London Free School (WLFS). He also admitted the real reasons for wanting to set up that school were significantly to do with his own selfishness.
(c) Doc Hackenbush 2014

At the outset, some credit must go to Tobes for his agreement to be interviewed by Laura McInerney, who has done a magnificent job in holding the Government to account over the Free Schools programme, and was a teacher at the time, in 2010, when Tobes was happily slagging off state schools and claiming that he could do better. He should also get credit for being honest about his not inconsiderable shortcomings.

Why did he want to set up WLFS? “I had four children who at the time were all at primary school. There was the nagging worry about where they would go to secondary school if we didn’t get a free school open”. And he couldn’t afford to send his children to private schools. Blowing well north of £25 million of taxpayer funds to give four children the kind of education specified by their father? I’ll just leave that one there.

But he does have regrets. “There are a lot of things I regret … I was very critical of England’s public education system under the last Labour government, and I hadn’t grasped how difficult it is to do better, and to bring about system-wide improvement … there is no question that it was arrogant of me to believe that just having high expectations and believing in the benefits of a knowledge-based education for all, that those things alone would be enough to create successful schools”.

And there is more: “As someone coming into education from the outside, the bits you see of other schools are only the tip of the iceberg. You’re not aware of everything that is going on beneath the surface. You think, ‘well, I could do better than that’, as you are pointing to the tip of the iceberg, without realising how much more there is to it … If I could rewind six years, and know then what I know now, I would have been much less critical of other schools, local authorities, and England’s public education system in general”.

Then came the final confession: “Can I just say … one thing I really regret is that I gave a quick interview in an ITV programme about teachers in which I was quite dismissive about workload complaints. I regret that, enormously. I now know how hard teachers work and what a difficult job it is”. What a journey Tobes has made from all that copy he churned out dismissing teachers, local authorities and unions as “The Blob”.

A journey so significant that Tobes will soon end it: he is stepping down at the end of the current academic year. He is mightily fortunate to be able to take the decision himself, after the ructions which followed the sudden departure of WLFS’ then headmaster Sam Naismith - in the middle of the week, during term time - in May 2014.

Toby Young is typical of the journalist mentality that knows everything about everything, except when it comes to putting that knowledge into practice. Boris Johnson and Michael Gove are journalists by profession. And I’ll just leave that one there, too.


AndyC said...

He's still a bellend.

Andy McDonald said...

Still all about himself though. Just like when he tried to marshal his neighbours, General Jumbo style, to litter-pick his park for the queen's birthday.

I know the type all too well - even when they're failing miserably, they don't really mind, as long as everyone's watching them fail. Anything to be the centre of attention.

Malcolm Armsteen said...


Anonymous said...

He has lost a primary headteacher which unaccountably never seemed to be reported. Huge turnover of staff at his schools.

Shawlrat said...

Amazing how it took loads of taxpayers' money before he realised this.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but I'm not falling for Toby's 'mea culpa' bullshit. His little vanity project failed to live up to the wild promises he and his good friends made about it. Now he's attempting an 'I'm a bit of a lad, as everyone knows, but honest with it so please forgive' posture.
Tim and plenty of others called him out yrs ago for the self-serving, incompetent little chancer that he is. What a crying shame nobody listened. Now the country is £25m lighter.

They'll be another taxpayer-funded bandwagon along soon - Toby will have already reserved himself a seat.

Arnold said...

Typical Tory. Front line staff do all the work, and a back office isn't really needed.

Unknown said...

If he's such a changed man over education, will he now go on the attack to criticise the Government's changes to Education? No, probably not.

Andy McDonald said...

He's basically like Yosser Hughes* round Whitehall, isn't he? "Gissa school. I can do that."

What next? A prison? A university?

I sincerely hope that when we have a change of government, it sends some very good and forensic accountants to the books of every single free school.

*Albeit more successful (financially) than old Yosser was.

Unknown said...

He couldn't make enough money out of it.

Rivo said...

Judging from Twitter today his remorse was short-lived - after Graham Linehan tweeted a link to Tobes' admission, labelling him "London's Village Idiot" in the process, the YOung came back saying "All 4 free schools I've co-founded are thriving". I'm not sure that word means what he thinks it means...

Crispin Fisher said...

It would be nice to think that Toby admitting to his own short-comings would result in him being dropped by the BBC and other news broadcasters as a professional gob-shite but I won't be holding my breath.

Anonymous said...

Should look at Toby Young's connections to dodgy South African Earls Court developer CapCo. They promised land for his free school for 2018.

The land was undersold to CapCo by the Conservative Hammersmith & Fulham local council voted out in 2014 . The land was not put up for tender and was undersold by as much as £1.5 billion; which is £1.5 billion of unlawful state aid.

CapCo only paying £90 million.


CapCo are now in the red after demolishing Earls Court Exhibition Centre after sales dwindled in the Summer and no one buying into the project.

The £1.5bn state aid has made the South African company worth £2.8 bn but is in all reality worth less than £1 bn and in dire need of capital are having to sell the Olympia venue.

So is the land designated for Toby Young's Free School still up for grabs?

On this land is West Kensington and Gibbs Green Estates peoples' homes destined for demolition for luxury flats for foreign investors during a serious housing crisis in London.

Something for Zelo street to look into. This corruption goes right to the top of the Conservative party which includes Alexander Johnson.

Anonymous said...

Toby Young is indeed a bellend. He walked around WLFS as if we should all be on our knees licking his boots. He is responsible for the unqualified, unprofessional young teaching staff who try to be cool with the kids and when the kids then respond to this like for like these young teachers resort to any means to try and regains some control, including lying about and manipulating situations. The more experienced teachers aren't much better. As for the leadership team who had really started to take shape under Sam Naismith they have under the new head turned into a screaming bunch of bullies who are more worried about covering their own arse than the children they teach.They have no back bone under their new leader. The headmaster has described their own policies and behaviour monitoring system on discipline as not relevant and is not beyond bending and manipulation situations to his own advantage. I hope Toby Young is proud of the 25million he has spent on his families education. Let's just hope that some of that has benefitted the current year 11's about to sit their GCSE's, the first real test for WLFS. Good luck to them all. Toby Young you are without a shadow of a doubt an elitist, selfserving idiot.

Anonymous said...

I can't be the only one who notices the "new" arm waving arse hole PR "tactics" of Toby Jug. He's plainly watched all the other media bullshitters doing it.

All of them seem to think it imparts "dynamism." Actually, it just makes them look like as thick as pigshit.