Strange choice for patron

Strange choice for patron

By Robin Symonds | 16/12/2010

Strange choice for patron

Sir. I was surprised to read that Chuckle Brother Barry Elliott is to be the patron of the proposed Rotherham Central Free School.

He seems an extremely unlikely choice if you’re looking for a positive role model. His on screen persona is a dim-witted, childlike fool; a bungling buffoon.

I cringe whenever someone asks me where I’m from and when I tell them they gleefully say, “To me, to you” (usually followed by a supercilious snigger).

Mr Chuckle proclaims that free schools are “just what we want to raise educational standards”. I’m not sure how he comes to that conclusion.

The opposite is likely to be the case with much needed money diverted from mainstream schools to line the pockets of private profiteers. Rotherham needs real investment in its existing schools not some half-baked idea based on a Swedish experiment.

We would do well to take heed of Sweden’s education minister Bertil Ostberg’s warning that free schools are a failure which has seen a fall in the quality of Swedish schools since their introduction.

Earlier this year one half of another dim-witted comedy duo described free schools as a “disaster for standards”.

Mind you, he’s probably changed his tune since becoming deputy prime minister! The idea of schools being run for profit is repugnant and anyone who cares about education in Rotherham should oppose the establishment of free schools in the borough.

Robin Symonds Fraser Road Rotherham


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