Sir Digby Jones, the government’s “skills envoy” (what?) has spoken out against the “safety first” culture in modern British schools, saying that by eliminating competitiveness and risk-taking, children will be left ill-prepared for the cut and thrust of the real world.
This comes after the banning of wonderful pastimes such as conkers, snowball fights and throwing paper aeroplanes by some schools around the country including a nation-wide initiative in Scotland where it is now illegal to give a child an orange during half time of a football match, lest the little dear choke on the pips.
Sir Digby went on to say: “I want to see serious competitiveness in exams, sports days and activities designed to equip young people for society,” adding “ the world beyond the school gates is not a level playing field.” I wonder how many fights he had to win to get his title?
He is president of a company called HTI which forms links between schools and businesses and has set up the ‘Go4it’ scheme (notice how the name is ‘cool’; the kids will love that) which will reward schools that take a “risk-positive” attitude to learning. Which basically means the ‘balloon full of hydrogen over a candle’ experiment.
I like this guy. I remember conkers getting banned from my school after Andrew Shaw punched his brother in the mouth because I beat him with my thirty-twoer. But in Lanarkshire the autumn sport of kings has been sacked over fears some kiddies may ingest the conker and suffer anaphylactic shock.
You don’t eat them; you soak them in vinegar then stick them in the microwave.