Walk into any classroom today and you will see a teacher fussing over a child who identifies as a cat or refusing to read the “transphobic” JK Rowling using the pronoun “they” for an eight-year-old and young people reliably says that women can have penises.
Under increasing pressure from an increasingly woke society, schools are tripping over themselves to be diverse.
However, there is one faction in today’s education system that is studiously ignored: the working class.
The only thing missing from the debate about diversity in education is social class.
A new book has confirmed that social mobility – or lack thereof – hinders those from disadvantaged backgrounds and widens the gap between those with money and those without.
Working-class white boys are among the lowest-performing students. Schools regularly focus attention on family income and humiliate children who don’t have the luxury of nannies, stables and a week in Courchevel.
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Expensive uniform policies, inconsistent days, and mandatory essentials—unfair in a cost-of-living crisis—alienate people from the poorest backgrounds.
Matt Bromley and Andy Griffith, authors of The Working Classroom, say every school’s curriculum should celebrate working-class culture. And that poorer children should not be excluded from “high culture”.
They write: “Much of what schools do is classist, including the way the curriculum is designed, how the assessment system works, and the impact of the hidden curriculum on students.”
“Social mobility means taking students out of the working class and leaving behind everything they are and what they identify with. Rather, the goal of equity in education is to celebrate and value students’ working-class roots while ensuring that those roots do not harm their life chances.”
One of their somewhat unlikely solutions is to teach children the lyrics to “Pulp’s Common People,” a song, for the uninitiated, about a rich student who wants to live like a commoner.
Which is all well and good. (Although a little condescending and probably not an Oxbridge qualifier).
Except it just doesn’t happen.
In recent years, GCSE maths and modern languages papers have tested candidates’ skills with questions about theater trips and ski holidays. As if every inner-city comp kid spends his nights watching Harold Pinter plow snow through Les Arcs.
Despite all the rhetoric about pupil premiums, pupils in the more worker-oriented comprehensive schools receive less money per head. You get fewer qualified teachers, higher teacher turnover and more substitute teachers.
Start the race behind you
Those on free school meals are 27 per cent less likely to achieve five or more GCSEs.
And as the government increases pressure on results, teachers are focusing on core subjects like maths, English and science – meaning extracurricular activities, anything remotely fun and stimulating, are being ignored.
Diane Reay, professor of education at the University of Cambridge, puts it best: “If you are a working-class child, you start the race halfway behind the middle-class child.”
In 2023, the gap between rich and poor has never been greater.
Instead of pandering to the woke, privileged minority – making students identify as cats and banning Roald Dahl – the government should support those who need our help most.
Don’t alienate them further.
Telly Sarah? Ferg-et it
Angry. Fergie must be completely beside herself.
(And the Amazon Prime casting director might want to have a quiet word with himself).
In set pictures of the new drama “A Very Royal Scandal” – about Prince Andrew’s car accident in the Newsnight interview – the not exactly lifelike Claire Rushbrook can be seen in the role of Sarah Ferguson. Madame Tussauds, that’s not it.
In a new interview, Nadine Dorries criticizes her nickname “Mad Nad,” calling it deeply sexist.
As she says, “It’s lazy and misogynistic. They would never say Mad Nad about Nadhim Zahawi.”
She is absolutely right.
Why is the woman always depicted as having a sandwich before a picnic?
Brag about my pet hate
NOW I’m really happy for Kelly Brook.
But for the rest of us, those who aren’t exactly swinging happily from our Ann Summers chandeliers, it’s slightly annoying to hear about the incredible sex lives of the rich and famous.
The model boasts that sex with her new husband Jeremy Parisi is better now than it has ever been since they’ve been married.
Which isn’t actually the right order.
However, she admits that the couple’s dog, Teddy, is a real killjoy: “We used to spend a lot of weekends in log cabins, but now we always take him with us, so it’s not quite as romantic.” He’s something of a Passion killer, our dog.”
As someone who sleeps with her miniature dachshund Dora (in the non-biblical sense), I completely agree.
Pets walk, sniff and fart contraceptives.
KING Charles appears on the cover of the new Big Issue magazine.
In the accompanying interview, the monarch talks about poverty and food waste.
This is a man who considers Buckingham Palace his home. Who has an abundance of royal residences to sleep in and has never given much thought to where his next meal might come from.
Read the room, guys.
You Helen haters can hope so
HELEN FLANAGAN has been “mother-shamed” once again.
Not standing at the stove making a pureed carrot smoothie, Beatrix Potter in one hand, an iron in the other.
Instead, she was criticized for daring to pose in full makeup, right, in a paid collaboration for Playboy.
The mother-of-two’s social media feed was flooded with snide, completely unnecessary comments from women telling her she looked “shabby”, “cheap” and “slutty”. Why people feel the need to cruelly comment on a young woman simply making a living and flaunting what she has – to give her children all the pureed carrots they so desperately want – is really amazing.
Live and let live.
DOMINIC Cummings really should have gone to Specsavers. . .
The former No 10 adviser, who drove 260 miles from London to Barnard Castle to “test his eyesight” during lockdown, left himself completely candid after posting this photo which followed an emergency doctor’s appointment.
Time for another trip to Durham I think.
I need an alcohol phone
SCIENTISTS have developed a smartphone app that can detect the level of poisoning based on changes in your voice.
The hope, of course, is that technology will save us from ourselves — and prevent us from sending a hammered voice to our ex in the middle of the night drooling that they were the one who got away.
Too little, too late, folks.
Unfortunately, I’m no stranger to post-Savvy B calls.
Once, for some inexplicable reason, I FaceTimed Robbie Williams (the teetotaler) at 1 a.m. to tell him my thoughts about UFOs. We apparently talked for a good 15 minutes.
Apparently I had no memory at all the next day.
And was only reminded when I woke up terribly hungover, a series of serious emails from Robbie, accompanied by links to various UFO websites and communities. Apparently I told him that I deeply believe in extraterrestrial life. I don’t.
We haven’t talked about it since.
A BT boss has come under fire from unions for saying staff should accept being replaced by artificial intelligence because horses “didn’t complain” when the car was invented.
Engineering chief Harmeen Mehta said: “I don’t know how horses felt when the car was invented, but they didn’t complain about being laid off, they didn’t go on strike.”
Funny, right? Obviously not. Union bosses, those true models of joy and LOLS, immediately stepped in and criticized them for their “insensitivity.”
But a neighbor comment from some horses.