Blunkett takes to Larkin about

15th September 2006 at 01:00
David Blunkett, the former education secretary, is not renowned for his poetic talents.

But the straight-talking politician reveals an unexpected lyrical streak in The Teaching Challenge, on Teachers' TV, a series in which high-profile figures attempt to teach a single lesson.

Mr Blunkett volunteered to take an A-level class in poetry at Westminster City comprehensive, in central London. The first thing the pupils want to know is how Mr Blunkett, who is blind, can appreciate poetic imagery.

His answer is appropriately lyrical: "It's building a picture from your own life experiences, from touch or smell or standing on a hillside and feeling the breeze or sun on your face."

He introduces the class to works by Christina Rossetti and Philip Larkin.

The former fails to meet with approval.

"It's like every line is almost a cliche," one pupil volunteers. Unabashed Mr Blunkett then calls on another 17-year-old. "I like it," she says. "It's quite erotic."

The Teaching Challenge will be broadcast on September 19 at 9.30pm.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now