On the naughty step - conduct that deserves a ticking off

6th July 2012 at 01:00

This week: Toby Young

Getting flak from readers is part of the job for newspaper or magazine columnists. But journalist and free school "pioneer" Toby Young will be feeling rightly bruised after his piece for last week's Spectator magazine.

"Ignorant", "obnoxious" and "poor excuse for a human being" were among the comments posted under the article by the founder of the West London Free School.

In cheerleading for Michael Gove's planned reforms of GCSEs, Mr Young took the opportunity to lay into the idea of inclusive education, an apparently "ghastly" idea that afflicts education. What is it about inclusivity that so offends? Apparently, it includes wheelchair ramps in schools and well-trained special educational needs departments.

"If Gove is serious about wanting to bring back O levels, the government will have to repeal the Equalities Act, because any exam that isn't 'accessible' to a functionally illiterate troglodyte with a mental age of 6 will be judged to be 'elitist'," Mr Young wrote.

Following the criticism, Mr Young took to his blog to say he had been misunderstood. He was, he said, having a pop at a "one-size-fits-all curriculum", rather than the idea of equal access to education for people with disabilities.

Either way, branding less able pupils as troglodytes is not what is expected of someone given large amounts of state cash to set up their own state school. And for that, Mr Young goes to the naughty step.

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