Given the Telegraph’s paywall

We don’t know the reason that the expert goes on to give:

The Government proposals for some pupils to focus on English and maths when they return to school in September could lead to “cultural apartheid”, an expert has warned as headteachers vow to ignore the Government’s advice….

Our task therefore is to ponder what reasons there possibly could be.

Ideas along the lines of, well, literacy and numeracy are waacist, innit, are too obvious. What therefore is that argument?

The winning prize is employment at the fool think tank of your choice.

28 thoughts on “Given the Telegraph’s paywall”

  1. Tim,
    Re DT paywall: Click on the article, right click and select view page source, scroll down through a bunch of html crap until the article text is reached, read the article. 🙂

  2. Prof Lee Eliot Major, an expert in social mobility at Exeter University, said that he understands the importance of focussing on maths and English but added that the move could lead to a cultural gulf opening up between rich and poor children.

    “Clearly maths and English are absolutely essential for future life prospects,” he said. “If you don’t get a grip on the basics, your life prospects, whether in terms of earnings or any other way, aren’t good.”

    But Prof Major added that ideally, all children should be taught a broad curriculum and subjects like art and music should not have to be “sacrificed”.

    “The dilemma will be that the middle class students will retain all the enrichment and curriculum breath (sic) whereas those from poorer backgrounds will not,” he said.

    “It will create a cultural apartheid between middle class children who will get enrichment outside the classroom and poorer children who get nothing.”

    I liked Lee Major better when he was the Bionic Man.

    The article also quotes a number of teachers who wank on about the importance of a broad education as well as maths and English.

    Thing is, these useless fuckers by and large can’t teach children a basic grasp of maths and English even after having them for a decade. So their efforts to teach a broad range of subjects are worse than useless.

    I suspect the main reason for primary age children failing maths and English is that most of their teachers are too thick to teach either subject properly.

  3. Clicking on Tim’s link I get the full article sans paywall.

    This cultural apartheid is rich vs poor not skin tone based:

    “Prof Lee Eliot Major, an expert in social mobility at Exeter University, said that he understands the importance of focussing on maths and English but added that the move could lead to a cultural gulf opening up between rich and poor children.”

    Basically the argument is that poor kids will only learn useful things like literacy and numeracy and they’ll be deprived of arty farty things.

    Speaking as someone who was poor as a kid, I’d say this is the pedagogic version of Brecht’s “grub first, then ethics”. One can, as I did, catch up on the arty bits later in life provided you’ve got the necessary skills to get a decent job that allows you the lifestyle to do that.

  4. The Meissen Bison

    Rod Liddle had a piece arguing that school closures were one of the benefits of lockdown because children were thus given a break from marxist indoctrination.

    In any case, schools don’t foster much “enrichment” other than relentless campaigns against Christianity, heterosexuality and these islands’ past can provide.

  5. My parents were fairly poor and had very basic educations themselves. Both of them were literate and numerate and emphasised to us kids the importance of education. We went to a crappy bog standard comprehensive, got a few O-Levels and went to work. Non of us are rich but all of us have done Ok. Speaking for myself, I never stopped learning, I took piano lessons as an adult. Those basics are the most important thing, if this generation gets them right, it follows that the next generation will probably be less poor. Of course, a lack of badly educated poor people might leave certain academics without a job.

  6. Bloke in North Dorset

    Something similar happened when the Tories proposed a national curriculum. It was meant to be. Just about a minimum time for maths and reading, but the every other subject jumped on the band wagon and claimed self importance.

    If you can’t read or. Write you can’t benefit from learning those other subjects.

  7. “Prof Lee Eliot Major, an expert in social mobility…”

    I missed that bit. Presumably his expertise is social mobility and how to prevent it.

  8. @AtC…

    Ditto. Twas important to get to grips with log tables and be able to read and write in order to land a job. In later years, when time allowed, you made room for the poetry and art.

  9. If they think that ensuring an arts education during the pandemic is so important, shouldn’t they, uhhh… turn up to teach it? Instead of moaning and trying to avoid reopening the schools?

  10. But what happens to the education industry if the public realise that much of it’s product is useless?

  11. Re: Paywall

    Install Firefox add-on “User-Agent Switcher”
    Select “Google bot” and you have full access to Telegraph site.
    This also works on lots of sites which have soft paywalls (i.e. allow google to index their content in full)

  12. My mum and dad both left school at 14 with no qualifications, for a while, my mum and three older siblings lived in a homeless shelter and dad, who grew up in an orphanage, had to find single digs. Eventually he got steady work and the family got a council house. My mum used to take in work such as trimming excessive rubber off soles and sewing the lagging sleeves for hot water tanks. When we got older she qualified as a social worker.

    They always had the attitude that they would support us to achieve whatever we wanted. My eldest brother was the first in the family to go to uni, I was the second.

    MrsBud’s dad was a lorry driver all his working life. She left school at 16 and got a job in a supermarket.

    Despite these ‘poor’ backgrounds, we have developed a broad love of the arts. Despite living in a cultural backwater 1000km from Brisbane, before COVID-19 intervened, we had bookings for two ballets, two plays and an art exhibition at the Royal Society of Arts.

    It was my solid education at a grammar school that
    enabled us to be upwardly mobile and have the wherewithal to do these things.

    PS We tried opera, Madame Butterfly, but left at the interval. That was a step too far.

  13. Re: Paywall

    You could just block JavaScript in the site permissions. All it takes is 4 clicks of the mouse to permanently defeat this paywall.

  14. Perhaps you could explain that?

    At the level of 1) Is the computer plugged in? 2) Is the switch on? 3) No, the one on the socket first, 4) Then the one on the computer 5) Now the screeen…..

  15. It was my solid education at a grammar school that
    enabled us to be upwardly mobile and have the wherewithal to do these things.

    The reason the grammar schools were abolished was because “They take children from good labour families and turn them into fucking tories.” Quote from Richard Crossman I believe. The comprehensive system was introduced to prevent social mobility, because the fucking socialists could see it costing them votes and hence power.

    Working class children have been paying for that for decades now.

  16. BiW,

    Neither MrsBud or I ever voted for Labour (or Labor in my wife’s case, I haven’t become an Aussie).

  17. @MC Re: Broad curriculum:

    Some while ago I heard of an article in The Idler (a fortnightly magazine that comes out monthly, or some such…) which asked various successful people what part of their education had been most important to them. They all pointed to one or two influential or inspirational teachers. None of them credited their success to “a broad curriculum….”

    I think there is a lesson there…

  18. “Despite living in a cultural backwater 1000km from Brisbane”: a harsh way to describe Sydney.

    Madame Butterfly was the wrong place to start for you: try Carmen. And try listening to some Rossini overtures. Somebody on Youtube might carry Porgy and Bess – wonderful Gershwin tunes.

    I went to two operas before the third one clicked with me: Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro. Bloody marvellous. It’s overture still fills me with joy: it announces a wonderful evening ahead.

  19. Come to think to it: there are many marvellous melodies in Opera, but some people can’t bear the noise of Opera singers.

    Somebody should put out CDs, or the modern equivalent, of just the tunes – no singing. Start-up idea there.

  20. I wonder, at what point did the Labour party realise that, as the party representing poor people, keeping them poor was the only way to keep their voter base?

  21. Dearieme, someone’s done that for Wagner’s Ring Cycle. There are some cracking tunes and it only takes an hour or so instead of four bloody days.

    (I really can’t get on with dear Richard no matter how many times I try but this orchestral arrangement is pretty good to listen to. Mind you, the Met is streaming, (free), Die Walkerie tonight so I shall probably give him another go.)

  22. Good question, Stonyground.

    See also: at what point did the Labour nomenclature realise it could stop pretending to give a shit, and instead just assume tribal loyalty?

  23. Ideas along the lines of, well, literacy and numeracy are waacist, innit, are too obvious. What therefore is that argument?

    Not read article. My guess: On average, Yellow and Indian good at maths, Whites OK, RoPs borderline, Blacks err, em, numbers

    Behind paywall

    “Focus on English and maths risks creating ‘cultural apartheid’, warns social mobility expert
    Prof Lee Eliot Major warned that the plans could lead to a cultural gulf opening up between rich and poor children

    By Camilla Turner, Education Editor 30 June 2020 • 10:00pm

    The Government proposals for some pupils to focus on English and maths when they return to school in September could lead to “cultural apartheid”, an expert has warned as headteachers vow to ignore the Government’s advice.

    Schools may teach a slimmed-down curriculum focusing on maths and English when children return in ­September, with the full syllabus not reappearing until next summer, ­according to draft government plans.

    Some subjects may be put on hold until 2021 to allow time for pupils to catch up on the core subjects given ­insufficient attention during lockdown, under plans being considered by ministers.

    Prof Lee Eliot Major, an expert in social mobility at Exeter University, said that he understands the importance of focussing on maths and English but added that the move could lead to a cultural gulf opening up between rich and poor children.

    “Clearly maths and English are absolutely essential for future life prospects,” he said. “If you don’t get a grip on the basics, your life prospects, whether in terms of earnings or any other way, aren’t good.”

    But Prof Major added that ideally, all children should be taught a broad curriculum and subjects like art and music should not have to be “sacrificed”.

    “The dilemma will be that the middle class students will retain all the enrichment and curriculum breath whereas those from poorer backgrounds will not,” he said.

    “It will create a cultural apartheid between middle class children who will get enrichment outside the classroom and poorer children who get nothing.”

    The proposed guidance says that pupils taking their GCSEs next summer may also need to drop some subjects entirely so that extra space can be made in their timetables for English and maths lessons.

    It will add that children in their first year at secondary school may need to be retaught parts of the English and maths syllabus from their final year at primary.

    Headteachers also criticised the plans on social media, saying they will refuse to comply. Ruth Luzmore, head of St Mary Magdalen Academy, a primary school in north London, said: “Putting it out there now: pupils in my school will continue to have a broad curriculum in September… We are not going to narrow the opportunities for our pupils.”

    She said that religious education, languages, music, arts, PE, humanities, science lessons will continue, alongside “effective interventions” to catch up English and Maths gaps.

    Tracey Griffiths, head of Barn Croft primary in Walthamstow, added: “Only maths and English? Not on my watch!” Andy Byers, headteacher of Framwellgate School in Durham, agreed, saying he is happy to adjust or postpone some activities in some subjects, but “certainly not the subjects themselves”.

    Research published earlier this month found that more than two million children have done virtually no schoolwork during the lockdown.

    One in five pupils in the UK – equating to around 2.3 million children – either did no home learning at all or less than one hour a day, according to a new report by University College London’s Institute of Education.

    Researchers analysed the findings of a study in which over 4,500 British households were asked about their children’s schoolwork during the second half of April.

    They found that children spent an average of 2.5 hours each day doing schoolwork. This is around half the amount suggested by previous research, which implies that “learning losses are much greater than feared”, academics said.
    (c)Telegraph Media Group Limited 2020″

  24. Dearieme,

    We like a lot of opera music and, you are right, we should have started with an opera whose music we are more familiar with. It was more a case of us being in Brisbane for the weekend when it was on so we organised a family outing. Our daughter-in-law went back for the second half and our youngest daughter went with her to keep her company. The rest of us went to the pub to wait for them.

    This has always been our favourite opera:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=19&v=6jDcWAWRRHo&feature=emb_logo

  25. @TimW

    Please edit previous and add after “…lead to a cultural gulf opening up between rich and poor children”

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