12th August 2016 at 01:00

While I agree with valid points made in media discussions about the prospects of the possible return of the grammar system (bit.ly/NewGrammar), sadly, we have been forced to become realistic over education reforms.

The pedagogical model in primary schools today is driven by government demands for counting pupil success as factory outputs against Sat scores. This is achieved by schools embracing coaching, terrified of Ofsted condemnation and resultant academisation.

Therefore, any reintroduction of grammar schools will simply replicate that coaching model for entry tests alongside Year 6 Sats: with the replication of the resultant labelling of “failure” as witnessed in the previous incarnation of grammars. No prizes for guessing which pupils will be classed as failures under that “meritocratic” system.

Professor Bill Boyle

Tarporley, Cheshire

Academies, free schools and now the government’s focus on grammar schools: schools need to belong in society but many grammars don’t and fail to even operate within their local context.

I remember inspecting a grammar school that contributed little to school life and the population in a diverse and run-down inner-city area. The local free school meal situation didn’t allow for 11-plus preparation.

Husain Akhtar

Retired additional Ofsted inspector and councillor

To boldly split infinitives

Perverse pedantry is a long time a-dying. In “Why you’re wrong about grammar” (Feature, 5 August), Alistair McConville makes the comment: “oo-er, a split infinitive – can I get away with that, editor?” But the very notion of a “split infinitive” is simply a nonsense. The infinitive is the stand-alone, unmarked, non-finite form of the verb. As the object of the preposition “to” it forms an infinitive-phrase constituent in sentence structure, which also happens to be the citation form of the verb. Hamlet got it sorted a good four centuries ago: “To be or not to be? That is the question” – answered towards the end of the play as “let be”.

Keith Davidson

Columnist for Teaching English, the journal of the National Association for the Teaching of English

Long list of shortcomings at Ofsted

David Hoare, Chair of Ofsted, has not properly apologised (bit.ly/HoareApology) for making gratuitously offensive remarks not only about former teachers who might have applied for the post of chief inspector but also about many of his near neighbours living just across the Solent (“I didn’t want Ofsted run by a teacher, says chair”, Insight, 5 August).

In conversation with his dinner guests, does he talk not only about the shortcomings of the Isle of Wight but also about the shortcomings of the senior professional managers of the organisation over which he presides ? If so, does he also caricature them as “inbred, poor and white”?

Colin Richards

Spark Bridge, Cumbria

Facebook users on the Ofsted chair David Hoare’s comments about the Isle of Wight bit.ly/OfstedIoW

“Poverty is more prevalent than you might expect but this sweeping generalisation is an outrage.”


“Could he have come across any more elitist and condescending?” Kate

“Despite the hideous comment, it cannot be ignored that the IoW is one of the most deprived areas of the UK – investment in education has been needed for decades!”


“Talk about double standards. If a classroom teacher had said that about the area of their cohort, they would be reprimanded.”


And on a new wave of grammar schools bit.ly/NewGrammar

“The only thing that matters is making our outstanding so we can provide the best education for ALL children.”


“Best news in a long time – like it or not we need an academic elite and the comprehensive system does nothing for the bright kids. ”


Twitter users on keeping tattoos hidden to feel authentic as a teacher bit.ly/TattooTeacher

“Goes along with many things that are ‘politely deemed necessary’ to hide such as sexuality.”


“Many of our staff are tattooed, some senior leaders. We aren’t asked to cover them up – doesn’t affect our professionalism.”


“Interesting. Mine stay hidden 90% of the time but the children know I have them and I welcome that.”


“As long as they aren’t offensive or excessive then they should be allowed in any profession.”


“Many teachers with tats at school, including me. I keep covered but don’t hide fact that I have them. Much more accepted now.”


From the TES Community forums

Ofsted chair describes Isle of Wight as ‘inbred, poor, white ghetto’


That should be a sacking offense. Would he get away with saying something similar against Muslims in Birmingham?


While it’s fair enough for him to reflect upon the reasons why the IoW is doing abysmally in education, the way he’s referring to it is completely wrong.


Apparently he just said it to highlight the poor standard of education on the island. So that’s all right then.


Blaming teachers for your own grammar shortcomings


I wonder how much of it has come about due to the teacher bashing we’ve had over recent years.


When I were a lad, if you did badly you were self-aware enough to know it was because you were at fault.


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