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Schools Minister, Jim Knight

John Simkin

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BBC website:


England's Schools Minister, Jim Knight, has urged pupils to pay more attention to proof reading their work - admitting his own blog was strewn with errors.

These included: receieved, maintainence, convicned, curently, similiar, foce, pernsioners, reccess and archeaological.

Some of his sentences also had words missing or were otherwise mangled.

He said: "Good spelling is really important, as is always checking your work.

"I update my own blog and Facebook page, often from my phone when I am on the move. As a result, mistakes do occasionally creep in.

"In the future, I 'must do better' and always check my work."

In one entry, Mr Knight talks of his pride at steering through Parliament the legislation raising the education or training age to 18.

He says: "This is something that Winston Churchill first proposed 100 years when he put forward the idea of raising the age to 17, then another attempt to raise the leaving age after the First and Second World Wars."

Later he writes: "While there has been a lot going on with respect to problems regarding the Educational Maintainence Allowance and tidying up after the problems with the SATs, there is also a lot of positive things going on in our schools.

"The new diplomas are being taught very successful ...".

Writing about a new road in his constituency - Dorset South - that has "receieved" planning consent he says: "It's great to see work already starting on the route in terms of the archeaological investigations."

The heading of Mr Knight's blog includes the verb "to feedback".

Corrections were being made to old blog entries on the website on Thursday morning.

A previous version of his entry for July 2008 - still available via a web search - included, " ... given that we promote women in many roles and try to remove the glass ceilings that many women face in acheiving what they want ...".

The mis-spelling "acheiving" has since been corrected.

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There is of course the important question as to whether the Schools Minister should be able to write in coherent sentences and spell simple words correctly before he is allowed to make policy which impacts upon professional educators and the education of the nation's children. I suspect that he should.

This is however dangerous ground for if such a trend were to spread we might start insisting that Treasury ministers have more than a basic grasp of economics and foreign ministers a grasp of geography and international relations.

We might even start asking for a Prime Minister who can distinguish between his arse and his elbow B) .

Indeed if a competence clause is to be written into their job descriptions then they are all in trouble.

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