Jump to content
The Education Forum

Prince of Wales and Education


Recommended Posts

That well-known expert on the British State Education system (after all he has visited several schools in his time) yesterday made a speech on the subject. Despite his lack of experience he makes some good (and several very bad) points.

http://education.guardian.co.uk/schools/st...1247717,00.html

The Prince of Wales yesterday launched a forthright attack on the government's education policies, criticising ministers for their apparent obsession with preparing youngsters for the job market, ridiculing "faddish" teaching theories and questioning the need to send large numbers to university.

In a speech to teachers, Prince Charles claimed their job was now more difficult than ever because of a rapid succession of initiatives, compounded by the public examination system and the curriculum being "in a state of constant flux".

He warned that a generation of young people was becoming "culturally disinherited" because they failed to understand their place in history as the result of an inadequate curriculum. He also mocked "modish fads" which could be "potentially expensive and disastrous experiment with people's lives"

Speaking on the opening day of his third annual summer school for English and history state school secondary teachers in Buxton, Derbyshire, the Prince of Wales strayed much further into political territory than usual. At previous events he has criticised "trendy teaching methods" and warned that the curriculum is being dumbed down.

These views are echoed by the controversial former chief inspector of schools, Chris Woodhead - now the visiting professor of education at the University of Buckingham - who is attending the three-day event.

But this year the prince went much further, questioning the way that the government appeared to treat education as a means to an end - rather than a route to personal enrichment and fulfilment - and its drive to expand university numbers.

Prince Charles said: "Schools and universities must, as politicians like to remind us, 'deliver' the 'skilled workforce' the UK needs if it is to remain competitive in the 'knowledge economy'. But, if we have reached the point where we justify education on utilitarian grounds alone, then we might as well give up."

The prince also questioned the government's drive to send more young people to university and whether that was appropriate for all individuals. The government has set a target that 50% of young people should go into higher education by 2010.

But Prince Charles said: "It is worth reflecting on another area of difficulty; because there is a belief that, according to some schools of thought, obtaining a degree is the only way to succeed in the world, whereas we would probably all benefit from a greater emphasis on practical, vocational skills provision."

Although he was privately educated and chose the same route for his two sons, his aides say that the prince is legitimately interested in major national issues such as state education, and likes to promote national debate about them through events such as this. But he usually stays politically impartial and only airs his views with Labour ministers - to whom he has good access - privately.

As well as teachers, those attending the conference include the crime novelist PD James, historians David Starkey and Simon Schama, and the writer and broadcaster Lisa Jardine.

The prince's elder son William is studying at St Andrew's University, but his younger brother Harry has no plans to enter higher education.

Prince Charles sympathised with teachers, saying that the feedback he was getting from them was of "a difficult job becoming, year by year, yet more difficult".

He told the conference: "It must be hard to keep order when your pupils apparently have little fear of the sanctions you can impose, when some of their parents collude to undermine your authority, when we live in a society where the very notion of 'authority' is routinely criticised.

"It must be hard to teach with energy and commitment when the burden of bureaucracy means that you have to spend hours in the evening and at weekends to keep on top of the paperwork; when the curriculum is in a state of constant flux; public examinations are forever being restructured; one initiative follows with painful rapidity on the heels of the last."

Link to post
Share on other sites

He pays some tax, doesn't he? In which case, he's "qualified" to speak about it... More to the point would be why his comments should be so widely reported, why he should have such privileged access to ministers, etc, etc...

Link to post
Share on other sites
He pays some tax, doesn't he? In which case, he's "qualified" to speak about it... More to the point would be why his comments should be so widely reported, why he should have such privileged access to ministers, etc, etc...

He does not owe his position to any qualification nor was he elected to it. Everyone and anyone can talk about anything they like ("It's a free country") but as you say his position gives him a great deal of power to intervene in political issues.

I understand that Mrs Windsor and her family have stopped evading taxes so there is just the 50 years back tax to consider now....and imprisonment for tax evasion of course...... :blink:

Have a nice day

Derek McMillan

Link to post
Share on other sites

We're aiming to be a Republic here in Oz but, by God, he's absolutely right about educational fads, change fatigue and teacher workload.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I understand that Mrs Windsor and her family have stopped evading taxes so there is just the 50 years back tax to consider now....and imprisonment for tax evasion of course...... :)

Show some respect and call him by his real name Mr. Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. Changing the name to Windsor in 1914 was just a public relation exercise to hide their alien origins.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Show some respect and call him by his real name Mr. Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. Changing the name to Windsor in 1914 was just a public relation exercise to hide their alien origins.

When Diana was criticised for buying a German car (when the British car industry was in decline) she retorted that she also had a German husband.

However I really wanted to post about another point. If Charles' education policy were implemented and seen to be a failure would he lose his academic reputation :) or would he have to resign :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

This is the problem with monarchies, isn't it. Even when royals are making valid points, their identities just get in the way.

If Charles had attended state schools himself, and if his children had, there would be fewer problems about taking what he has to say about them seriously. I actually feel sorry for him as a human being. What a life it must be to wait around, fairly uselessly, until your mum dies, in order to have anything like a life.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I actually feel sorry for him as a human being. What a life it must be to wait around, fairly uselessly, until your mum dies, in order to have anything like a life.

Yes perhaps we should put them out of their misery :rolleyes:

Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...