Friday, July 18, 2008


Infinite Thought makes some nice observations about a piece by Stephen Bayley in last Sunday's Observer. She is horrified by the infection of education by managerialism and the disintegration of the curriculum.

The future of education increasingly resembles the factory-line producing cans of nothing - 6,000 students on a single course called perhaps 'Studies Studies', sponsored by McDonalds, Blue Arrow and PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

Paulie picked up on the post too.

The passage in Bayley's article that raised eyebrows was this,

The architecture both expresses and helps direct a new educational philosophy. Rigidity went the way of the cane. Academies must respect key stage testing, but do not have to follow the national curriculum. This ventilates both the style of teaching and the plan of the building. The way it was explained to me was: we don't do French language and history, we do 'Napoleon'. This way, pupils learn about motivational leadership and acquire French language and history at the same time.

It's a masterpiece. Six short sentences. How is it possible to cram so much bollocks into such a small space? OK lets briefly pass over the suspicion that best way to speak French might just be to learn French. Let's ignore that a study of Napoleon alone could leave a few gaps in someone's knowledge of the history of France, however significant he undoubtedly was. And it would take far too long to unpack the concept of motivational leadership (funny how they rarely talk about the motivated led), which has a long, and slightly dubious, historical pedigree.

No, it is clear that Britain needs motivational leaders to take it forward to a bright new future. Who better than Napoleon as a role model? He was a high achiever certainly. He seized power, crowned himself emperor in a fit of megalomania, helped plunge Europe into war, ultimately led his country to defeat and spent his last years in bitter exile. Just what Britain needs; an economic model based on Enron.

(Ta Will)


it said...

Thanks for the link. Just one thing - IT is a she!

The Plump said...

Oops! Corrected.

Anonymous said...

As someone is said to have said (perhaps in Hillary's Old African Village -- or was it in Romania...?) in defense of Napoleon, "But gentlemen -- he once had an editor shot!"

-- Mack