When I hear a government minister say he would like all schools to be like Eton, I despair. Educated no doubt in the rarefied atmosphere of a private school, ministers seem to have no idea what some state schools are like.

I retired from teaching many years ago, but I used to have year eleven pupils who couldn’t read. Why let them progress up the school without the ability to read and count? Pupils who couldn’t read exam papers had no hope of doing well.

This lack of basic skills led to bad behaviour in an attempt to cover up their inability to cope with the work.

If pupils were told they could leave school only when they mastered basic skills, some of them would make the effort!


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