Newspaper columnists are like buses you wait for ages for one to write about education and then suddenly three columns turn up at once. Hutton, Heffer and Hartley-Brewer responded in today’s Sundays to the sad, early death of Chris Woodhead, the former Chief Inspector of Schools.
Will Hutton wants everyone to get on his bus. His piece begins in tears and ends in hopelessness. Hutton brought his kids up in Oxford and thought the local comprehensive schools were good enough for his children despite the opinions of those middle class parents who sent their kids to the local private schools. Hutton argues that when Chris Woodhead became head of Ofsted the view of those middle class parents were echoed, he said that there were 15,000 teachers who should be sacked: “…his excoriation of soft teaching methods and praise of his insistence that kids needed to acquire both skills and knowledge for knowledge’s sake.” Hutton says this was echoed by Gove: “…that we need yet more of that [Woodhead’s] energy now to mount the ongoing fight against the liberal/left blob still defending the indefensible.” Then comes an odd bit of logic: