FErret - Insight into Sion's spin cycle

14th November 2008 at 00:00

Good luck to Sion Simon, the new skills minister, who really will have to turn on the charm at the Association of Colleges' conference next week.

Such events tend to rely on the suppression of mutual loathing to be a success, but I fear Mr Simon will have to suppress more than most.

As you may know, he is something of a writer as well as being a politician - a common combination, but also a difficult one to pull off because the craft of writing a good newspaper comment does not always sit well with the more subtle art of political diplomacy.

For those of you heading to Birmingham, here's a quick guide to Sion's views on education, which might come in handy if you find yourself hobnobbing with him in the conference bar.

From the News of the World, 2000:

On teachers:

"The line that what's good for teachers is also good for pupils is as much an insult to our intelligence as it is to our children's education. What's good for teachers is limited responsibilities and no performance evaluation. What's good for children is dedicated time every day learning the three Rs."

On A-level results:

"It's a serious case of extracting the you-know-what. Because it is absolutely obvious to everyone . that A-level-standard education is no better now than 20 years ago. If anything, most people would say it was worse. We're all used to politicians talking rubbish. That's not what bothers me. It's the sheer insulting arrogance of this particular piece of nonsense that sends my spin-dryer into overdrive."

From The Spectator, 2001

On learning: "What sane child could enjoy memorising the structures of the isotopes of carbon when they could be secretly drinking cider in the park or, even better, sitting on the wall outside the chip shop?"


Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today