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August 28, 2011



Many of us have ridden a bike, but we do not all do so at present. I just saw a film called ONE DAY which featured a horrendous bicycle accident which made the idea of cycling in London very scary, in an immediate and visceral sort of way.

I agree with you, Duke, that people (politicians, pundits et al) ask far, far too much from schools. Not when they say that schools should teach French or Mathematics (I think they should), but when they insist that they should also teach citizenship, good conduct, sexual behaviour and so on. As far as I can see, school is not the place to teach these things. It is asking far too much of busy teachers: it is unreasonable. A teacher's job is to improve skills and knowledge in a particular field (like French) to the best of their ability, with the resources available. It is not to make up for the failings of the rest of society and produce guaranteed all-round good individuals.

If these pundits et al are so keen for children to learn these things, then they should set up their own after-school institutions and try to inculcate them there.


Actually I don't disagree that we shouldn't 'teach' good conduct, sexual behaviour etc in school - in best practice it actually happens as a by-product of teaching other things such as English, History or Art. My main irritation is that people appear to be abdicating responsibility for the teaching of those things solely to schools and accepting no responsibility (as parents or otherwise) themselves. We're all in this together, after all ;)

And no, I don't think I'd like cycling in London much, despite being (I think!) a confident rider. I had a moment yesterday in sleepy Devon when a car pulled out of a junction and almost took me out. Driver just didn't seem to look. My language and attendant gesticulations were probably not in keeping with my age and position in society... I hope it wasn't a parent of one of the kids in school.


Do you mean

"I don't disagree that we shouldn't 'teach' good conduct, sexual behaviour etc in school"


"I disagree that we shouldn't 'teach' good conduct, sexual behaviour etc in school"


If pupils become better people as a byproduct of classes, good. But I don't believe that these pastoral / moral roles should be added to teachers' workloads. It is a flagrant passing of the buck by other people. You might as well say that newsagents, bus drivers or checkout attendants should be teaching those things. No: they already have jobs to do. So do teachers.

The driver probably thought you were a 'punk rocker'.

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