Sunday, 15 May 2011

Schools Minister Called to Resign Over Thick Kids Claim

Schools minister Ian Mortimer in hot water after saying thick children are to blame for unmanageable teacher workloads

Ian Mortimer, the politician charged with overseeing the government’s much heralded teacher workload review, is facing calls to resign over comments he made while addressing a conference of teaching union representatives yesterday.  

Mr Mortimer, speaking at the conference to outline the government’s plans for tackling teachers’ workloads, stunned delegates by saying: “the greatest contributing factor to unmanageable teacher workloads is the dimness of children,” adding, “a persistent minority of children are regularly handing in error strewn and illegible work causing extra and unnecessary work for teachers.” 
He went on to praise the correct answers and neat handwriting of bright children and promised measures within the next 6 months to tackle what he called “the spiralling and unacceptable number of thick children in this country.”
Furious delegates at the multi-union conference threw complimentary highlighter pens and sticky post-it notes at the minister.  SNATWU executive member, Helen Burnard, said: “I’m absolutely astonished by Mr Mortimer’s comments.  The feedback I get from our membership is that thick children actually do very little writing and seldom hand their books in anyway.  It’s not fair to blame them for what they, quite literally, haven’t done.”
But not everyone at the 300 delegate conference threw stationery at the minister.  Kate Huskins, divisional secretary for NUHT, said:  “Some of the highlighters were hard to come by colours and came in a neat presentation pack, I kept mine.”

Unusual Tints proved to be a conference highlight
Eton educated Mortimer narrowly avoided losing his job last year after calling for the term ‘village idiot’ to be included on the Special Educational Needs register. On another occasion he was forced to apologise after insisting that a junior minister must be a dunce because he had not been to private school.
A statement released by his office said: “Mr Mortimer goes to great lengths to keep in touch with simple folk and had not intended to offend half-witted people of any age.”

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