WALK into any classroom today and you’ll see a teacher pandering to a kid who identifies as a cat, or refusing to read “transphobic” JK Rowling, using “they” pronouns to an eight-year-old and reliably telling youngsters that women can have penises.
Under increasing pressure from an ever-woke society, schools are tripping over themselves to be diverse.
Social class is the only thing missing from the debate about diversity in education.
A new book has confirmed social mobility — or lack thereof — is thwarting those from underprivileged backgrounds, widening the gulf between those with money and those without.
White, working-class boys are some of the lowest achievers at school, with schools regularly drawing attention to family incomes and humiliating kids who don’t have the luxury of nannies, stables and a week in Courchevel.
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Expensive uniform policies, non-uniform days and mandatory essentials — unfair in a cost-of-living crisis — are alienating those from the poorest backgrounds.
Matt Bromley and Andy Griffith, the authors of The Working Classroom, say that every school’s curriculum should celebrate working-class culture. And that poorer children should not be excluded from “high culture”.
They write: “So much of what schools do is classist, including the way the curriculum is designed, the way the assessment system works and the impact of the hidden curriculum on students.
“Social mobility implies lifting students out of the working classes and leaving behind all that they are and identify with. Rather, the aim of equity in education is to celebrate and embrace students’ working-class roots, while simultaneously ensuring those roots don’t take a stranglehold of their life chances.”
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One of their solutions, slightly improbably, is to teach kids the words 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. (If a tad patronising, and probably not a qualifier for Oxbridge).
Except it’s simply not happening.
In recent years, GCSE papers in maths and modern languages have tested candidates’ ability with questions about trips to the theatre and skiing holidays. As if every inner-city comp kid spends their nights watching Harold Pinter and snowploughing down Les Arcs.
Despite all the rhetoric around pupil premiums, pupils in the more working-class comprehensives get less money per head. They get less-qualified teachers, higher levels of teacher turnover and more supply teachers.
Start the race behind
Those on free school meals are 27 per cent less likely to achieve five or more GCSEs.
And with the Government piling on the pressure for results, teachers are focusing on core subjects like maths, English and the sciences — meaning extra-curricular activities, anything remotely fun and incentivising, are being sidelined.
As Diane Reay, Cambridge University professor of education, succinctly explains: “If you’re a working-class child, you’re starting the race halfway round the track behind the middle-class child.”
In 2023, the divide between rich and poor has never been wider.
Not alienating them further.
Telly Sarah? Ferg-et it
RAGING. Fergie must be absolutely RAGING.
(And Amazon Prime’s casting director might want to have a quiet word with themselves).
On-set pics from new drama A Very Royal Scandal – about Prince Andrew’s car crash Newsnight interview – show the less-than-lifelike Claire Rushbrook playing Sarah Ferguson. Madame Tussauds this ain’t.
IN a new interview, Nadine Dorries hits out at her nickname, Mad Nad, saying it’s deeply sexist.
As she says: “It’s lazy and misogynistic. They’d never say Mad Nad about Nadhim Zahawi.”
She’s absolutely right.
Why is it always the woman portrayed as one sandwich short of a picnic?
Boast my pet hate
NOW, I’m really, really happy for Kelly Brook.
But for the rest of us, those not merrily swinging from the chandeliers in our Ann Summers, hearing about the incredible sex lives of the rich ’n’ famous is mildly grating.
Which, really, is not the right order of things.
She does, though, admit the couple’s dog, Teddy, is something of a killjoy, saying: “We used to have lots of weekends away in log cabins, but we always take him with us now, so it’s not quite so romantic. He’s a bit of a passion killer, our dog.”
As someone who sleeps with her miniature dachshund, Dora, (in the non-biblical sense), I wholeheartedly agree.
Pets are walking, snuffling, farting contraceptives.
KING Charles is appearing on the front cover of the new Big Issue mag.
In the accompanying interview, the monarch is talking about poverty and food waste.
This is a man who considers Buckingham Palace his home. Who has a plethora of royal residences to sleep in and has never, ever worried about where his next meal might come from.
Read the room, guys.
You Helen haters can hop it
Not standing by a stove whipping up a puréed carrot smoothie, Beatrix Potter in one hand, an iron in the other.
Instead she’s been slammed for daring to pose, full make-up, in a paid collaboration for Playboy, right.
The mum of two’s social media feed has been flooded with derogatory, entirely unnecessary comments, from women telling her she looks “tacky”, “cheap” and “slutty”. Why people feel the need to comment, cruelly, on a young woman simply making a living, flaunting what she has – in order to provide her kids with all the puréed carrots they so desire – genuinely baffles.
Live and let live.
DOMINIC Cummings really should have gone to Specsavers . . .
The former No10 adviser, who drove 260 miles from London to Barnard Castle to “test his eyesight” during lockdown, left himself wide open after posting this photo which followed an emergency optician’s appointment.
Time for another trip to Durham, methinks.
I need booze phone
SCIENTISTS have developed a smartphone app that can detect levels of intoxication based on changes in your voice.
The hope, of course, is that the technology will save us from ourselves – and prevent that hammered midnight voicenote to an ex, drooling they’re The One That Got Away.
Too little, too late chaps.
Alas, I’m no stranger to a post-Savvy B call.
Once, I inexplicably, FaceTimed (the teetotal) Robbie Williams at 1am, to share my thoughts on UFOs. We chatted, apparently, for a good 15 minutes.
Obviously, the next day, I had absolutely no recollection.
And was only reminded when I awoke, horrifically hungover, to a series of earnest emails from Robbie, accompanied by links to various UFO websites and communities. It appears I told him that I believed, deeply, in extraterrestrial life. I don’t.
We’ve never spoken of 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.
Tech chief Harmeen Mehta said: “I don’t know how horses felt when the car was invented, but they didn’t complain that they were put out of a job, they didn’t go on strike.”
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Funny, right? Not so, apparently. Trade union bosses, those veritable beacons of joy and LOLS, immediately waded in, slamming her for being “insensitive”.
Neigh comment from any horses, though.
Meme of the week