Dr Alf’s description of the UK teaching profession as a whole is spot-on, other than the odd redoubt in the form of Miss Jean Brody types who wore severe clothing often spoke English with received pronunciation and secretly read the Daily Telegraph.
Today, these whole class teachers have been driven out by a new breed of Guardian reading left-winger with a “social conscience” and a belief in “lifelong learning”, coupled with an innate belief in differentiated teaching (teaching to the speed of the slowest), leveling down and mediocrity.
Linking schools to business is a good first step but I would go further by clearing out and de-recognizing the teaching unions, sacking trendy heads and bringing in real academic rigor, plus much longer school hours so that there was time for languages, personal presentation skills, NLP, philosophy, civics and sales training on top of the core curriculum. Half the teachers would be male and homework would be compulsory with practically no free periods. The model would be bench-marked to Singaporean and South Korean best practice and for troubled children from dysfunctional families, there would be boarding schools run by the Army and headed up by former army officers retrained as headmasters. Hard academic subjects would be taught in the mornings, followed by PE and a shower then easier subjects would be taught in the afternoons. The day would begin with morning prayers, to re-inculcate Judeo Christian ethics and affirmations to reinforce understanding of the “golden rule” from those of no or different persuasions. People would be required to wear uniforms and those not attaining the required marks in the core subjects would be held back a year until they did.
For the slower learners, there would be a Saturday school and remedial classes at night and there would be no choice about attending unless a pupil was medically unfit to learn or at death’s door. At a given point, the non academically inclined with a more practical bent would be split off and sent to trade schools and business boot camps so that once they had mastered plumbing, carpentry or electrical work etc, they were prepared to either take employment, where available or go into business for themselves either here or in another country using at least one other language that they had learnt using the Pimsleur method.
The genuinely clever would take American style GMATS and SATS and go to university to study subjects of use to the nation but based on economic demand for a given number of chemists, physicists, mathematicians, doctors, engineers, army officers, top civil servants, economists etc. People wishing to study other subjects would not be granted a university place but would instead be directed to study in a different country or at their own expense and on their own time