Jamie's Dream School: Stuff of nightmares?

11th March 2011 at 00:00

Doubtless there were more than a few staffroom sniggers at David Starkey's performance in the first episode of Jamie's Dream School last week ("Jamie's celeb lion tamer takes on 'savage beasts'", 4 March).

Here was a celebrity historian finding himself completely out of his depth when faced with what constitutes a daily reality for many history teachers.

I suspect they might feel less than sympathetic. "Wot a laf!" "The bloke hadn't got a clue." "Typical toff!"

The fact is, most history teachers would cope miles better with "renegade" pupils than Starkey. Not that Starkey was much worse than the other celebs, with the exception of Dame Ellen MacArthur, and her task was very different.

For all Starkey's failure in the classroom, he was, of course, brave to undertake the task and he was correct in his recognition that without a structure and ground rules, learning will not take place.

For the pupils concerned, the show is a gimmick too late. For them, probably the only hope is to join that other group of TV celebs who are spending a week in the slums of Nairobi for Red Nose Day.

Then our recalcitrant pupils might realise how lucky they are and how the power to improve comes from within - not from David Starkey or from anyone else.

And how wonderful it would be for them to learn through giving something to others.

The Dream School kids do not need a lesson in history or in English or in science. What they desperately need is a lesson in life!

Chris McGovern, Director, History Curriculum Association, Heathfield, East Sussex.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a TES/ TESS 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

Comments

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