Imperial past can't be metric

12th March 2004 at 00:00
I read your poster about Mr Brunel with interest (TES, February 27) and was pleased that the fashion of most television history programmes, whereby metric terms are used for the sake of it, was not followed.

This obsession with metrication is infuriating when the persons depicted would only have used imperial measurements.

How pleasing, then, that you define broad gauge and narrow gauge railways, the distance from London to Bristol and other lengths in the terms which were used at the time and still are.

The worksheets, however, are different. We still use imperial measurements for road (and rail) distances and for speeds. Is it necessary to confuse children by using terms which are outside their daily experience? Or am I being cynical in thinking that to be the reason? Traditional measures must be undermined and confused children are "a price worth paying".

Is this a TES idea? Or are you following government guidelines? Education and propaganda may be getting mixed up.

DL Stephens

32 Great North Road




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