Charles: Education, Right or Wrong?

Is Carles right or wrong on his views of education?

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Charles' school comments defended

Charles Clarke warned the Prince to think before intervening
Prince Charles's communications chief has defended his boss saying comments about schools were "misrepresented".
Education secretary Charles Clarke called the Prince "old fashioned" after he said the "learning culture" gave people hope beyond their capabilities.

"We can't all be born to be king," Mr Clarke told the BBC, insisting children should aspire to do their best.

But Paddy Harverson said the Prince was simply arguing against the idea of a "one size fits all" education system.

'Hardly dare say anything'

Tony Blair said it was an issue he would prefer to stay away from.

The Prince of Wales meanwhile responded to Mr Clarke's remarks by saying 12 years ago he was ridiculed for views he had expressed on tourism and the need for environmentally friendly architecture.

"But now people realise that old-fashioned views are coming round again.

What is it that makes everyone seem to think they are qualified to do things far beyond their technical capabilities?

Prince Charles
"Perhaps my fiendishly old-fashioned views of 12 years ago are not so old-fashioned now."

He added "I hardly dare say anything. I don't really want to teach any more grandmothers to suck eggs."

Earlier, Mr Clarke accused the Prince of not understanding what happened in schools after remarks by the heir to the throne were published during an employment tribunal involving former staff member Elaine Day.

Miss Day had complained to the Prince about prospects for her promotion.

Private memo

The Prince responded with a handwritten note saying: "What is wrong with everybody nowadays?

"What is it that makes everyone seem to think they are qualified to do things far beyond their technical capabilities?"

He goes on to blame the "learning culture in schools" and a "child-centred system which admits no failure" and tells people they can achieve greatness without "putting in the necessary effort or having the natural abilities".

To be quite frank I think he is very old-fashioned and out of time and he doesn't understand what is going on in the British education system

Charles Clarke

Charles Clarke interview

Pressed on the issue on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme, Mr Clarke said: "I do believe it's very, very important that every child has the ambition for themselves to achieve whatever they can do for themselves - that everyone has a field marshal's baton in their knapsack."

"We can't all be born to be king but we can all have a position where we really can aspire for ourselves and for our families to do the very best that we possibly can and I want to encourage that position."


The education secretary said he did not want to get into a "tangle" with the Prince but went on to criticise him for speaking out.

"To be quite frank I think he is very old-fashioned and out of time and he doesn't understand what is going on in the British education system at the moment," he said.

"And I think he should think carefully before intervening in that debate.

"The key point which I think is so, so damaging is when whole groups of people are dismissed as having no possibility, no ambitions, nothing can be done with them. I think that is really damaging."

The Prince's communications secretary, Paddy Harverson, told BBC News that the heir to the throne's comments were misinterpreted.

He said: "I think where the misrepresentation was, was about people suggesting he was talking about sociology and social opportunity, he was talking specifically about education," he said.

No apology

Shadow education secretary Tim Collins said Mr Clarke was unwise to "speak in the way he did".

He defended Prince Charles saying he was very committed to young people, particularly disadvantaged ones, and it was important that he felt able to speak freely on the issues that he cared about.

There was a difference between encouraging children to do the best they can and suggesting that all of them could get A grades in exams, Mr Collins said.

Downing Street earlier said it saw no need to apologise to the Palace for Mr Clarke's remarks.
I heard he did respond last night, something along the lines of "I've been accused of being old fashioned before, and I've been proved right." Good skills imho :D
He's quite correct. Many school leavers and students are told repeatedly that their qualifications and education (and not their intelligence, personality and ability) will make them rich and famous even though they are talentless halfwits.
He was just making the point that not everybody is able to do any job simply because of ther education and expectations from it.
Clarke's comments were disgraceful, as is No. 10's refusal to apologise. My contempt for the whole rancid bunch grows with every passing headline.
He was right in his comments and it had to be said, as for the shower in No 10, I echo OldChap's comments.
I interview young people all the time for job opportunities where they have impressive educational results and are boldly confident that they know it all (although that was the same 40 years ago) the difference is the shock when you ask them to prove their ability and skills by writing a letter or getting up to give a 5 minute presentation. Dishing out qualifications is not the same as meeting requisite skills and knowledge.

In Australia there is a realisation of this truth and a major move back to Technical Colleges to train those with aptitude at skilled trades. This is an acknowledgement of a wasted 20 years.
Remember the old BT adverts with Maureen Lipman?

"You've got an ology? You're a scientist!!!"

(the ology in question was sociology - there used to be a sign above the bog roll in the lavs at (I think) York University saying "sociology degrees, please take one" :wink: )

Every half-wit has the right to fame and fortune as is borne out in the media. Jade Goody (temporary) superstar :roll:

Prince Charles is merely stating facts and if the govt did half as much as he does for young people they would be in a better position to criticise him.
I think that this memo only came to light because of that daft tribunal. The comments in it were meant for an 'eyes only' recipient so it cannot by any stretch of the imagination be termed public comment. Clarke is therefore way out of order in making it an issue -- Charles is entitled to his private view just as much as anyone else. To seek to correct it is tantamount to thought policing.

And since when was old-fashioned a bad thing? Parliamentary traditions are hundreds of years old and they are revered and respected by all parties including Neue Arbeit. That's right isn't it, President Bleuugh?
i've always thought that education and intelligence do not necessarily go hand in hand. The number of "educated fools" that i encounter on a day to day basis is, at times, quite horrific. There is no harm in telling young people that they can achieve what they put their mind to - ambition is a good thing, but then implying that is will only occur if they aquire a p.o.s. degree in one of the 'ologies', recycling or whatever is ridiculous. I feel lucky to have gone to a school where the majority of the teachers were ex-forces, policemen or just normal and where development of skills, personality and so called "out of the box" thinking was actively encouraged - and as a student in a modern university I often feel that I have an edge of most other students, despite possibly not being as proficient in the actual subject material of the course.
I'm with Charles.

Aspiration has to be matched by ability, you can aspire to be anything you wish to be but unless your abilities are up to the task then you will not reach your goal.

There is a current of "I didn't achieve my dream of being a brain surgeon" as i have been let down by other people and blocked." that is growing in society. When people fail they look external to themselves first.

Rather than.

I haven't achieved my goal of being a surgeon because I haven't applied myself/aren't bright enough.

Bring back the birch etc.
Eye wheel goe wiv charls on dis topik

"six munfs ago ey cundt eevan speel artificur, nowe I ar wun"
Prince Charles is of course correct.

"20 years of government policy has been to encourage as many people as possible to remain at school for as long as possible, thus masking the unemployment figures. The problem is when 50% say go on to get a degree, then they are not going to be able to get the jobs and salaries that previously went to perhaps the 20% who got degrees. This fact has been masked, especially from the additional 30% and some poor idiots think they will get something that does not exist. Add the fact that to allow this high number to get a degree, they have had to make them easier, to such a level that now many are almost worthless, than the policy is clearly a failure.

We need to restore the pride and honour in getting qualified in a technical trade, and give those that do the esteem denied them, that was taken and given to (I did not buy into this crap myself) those with degress in freefall pottery and underwater basket weaving.
Prince Charles outspeak education doubleplus ungood.
Lets not forget the reason for his private correspondance, that a member of staff was looking for graduates to be fast tracked to senior positions. This individual is of course of the "I didnt get my way so its discrimination" school of thought and she also read private letters and has recorded conversations. Degrees are no reflection of an individuals potential and are now imho mostly worthless bar sciences or mathematics. Was Charles promting staff on ability not on worthless degrees? It would be interesting to know what her degree was in.
My GF is a teacher. She can't correct work any longer, let alone use red ink to do it. The kids she teaches are going to university but can barely spell or punctuate and have only the loosest concept of grammar. Most will leave school with 3 A's at A level but can't construct a cmopound sentence or write coherent prose.

Have you ever had a telesales call along the lines of "'Ello. We are just calling yourself to introduce ourselves to see if we can give you an introduction to ourselves services and blah blah blah" and they can barely string an intelligable sentence together, or recieved a sales letter that is written in some form of pidgin English? Chances are these people are graduates.

So yes, Prince Charles is right. To be qualified for a post requires both training and experience, but also more importantly ability. It is sheer stupidity to suggest that qualifications and aptitude are the same, and no amount of "ambition" will make up for a lack of aptitude.

I suspect that Clarke is just getting on the old class warrior bandwagon again. I wonder if he would have said what he did if the quote had come from Billy Bragg?


Book Reviewer
The issue emenates from the middle classes in many ways.

Have you ever met middle class parents who have a good, old fashioned, THICK kid? No? I thought not.

I know of one particular pair of intelligent parents who spent ten years dragging their only son from pillar to post until they could find a Harley Street quack-salve who would declare their child dyslexic (for a considerable fee) because he couldn't spell.

He is as dyslexic as my dog..........namely just not high enough up the food chain.
Is Carles right or wrong on his views of education?
Don't know
Wots ejukashun?
Is this a wind up?

Is Charles right or wrong - Yes or No!!!

Shouldn't it be is Charles right - Yes or No


Is Charles wrong - Yes or No?????

I suspect there may be something wrong with the education system!!!!! :D
So - what is this "necessary work or ability" you have to have to be "head of state" according to Charlie? Apart from the queen being your mum and having really big ears? Bunch o'bollocks.
A large tranche of the problem with literacy is that children are very often not taught to read by phonics (as in intelligent = in-tell-i-gent), but are taught by the "whole word" approach, which assumes that the whole word is important, not the sounds. It's rather like treating Latin writih (a phonic system) as if it were Chinese (an ideographic system, wherein the symbols represent concepts not sounds). A lot of kids who are labelled dyslexic simply have not been taught to read & write properly. In some schools, phonics have been used as a remedial method to teach children who can't read & write properly because they haven't managed to work the system out for themselves! If all were taught phonics properly, this would not be necessary. Melanie Phillips's book All must have prizes discusses this at length.

That aside, my father is a teacher in a private school, and reliably informs me that the standard of pupils now is at an all-time low & falling; both in motivation and abiilty. The standard required at GCSE and A-level for an A-grade has fallen dramatically, too. When doing past papers, I could always gauge how hard a paper was likely to be by looking at the date on the front...

I also read a couple of University Media Studies essays from ex-Preston Poly: they read like Tony Blair speeches, full of buzzwords, soundbites, and sentance fragments. Personally, I cannot grasp how to write a sentance without a verb, but I guess if you don't know what a verb is, it's not so tricky!!!

And in response to maninblack, I have met plenty of middle-class kids who are total planks. Some are perfectly intelligent academically but have zero common sense, some are very sensible types and able but are academically in the shallow end of the sheep dip. I think you'll find that you get roughly the same academic demographic split for the middle class as you do for everyone else.
some think charles may not be up to the job of being king.
how fortunate for him the interview was mummys queen well your next then.
unless the cull gets him :twisted:
the only reason to keep the royal family is to stop scum being head of state more charles makes his views public the less I like him
brighton hippy said:
more charles makes his views public the less I like him
I'm sure the sentiment is mutual. :D

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