The Week

Leading article

Hard lessons

George Tomlinson, the post-war education secretary, declared that politicians should leave exams to the teachers because ‘the minister knows nowt about curriculum’. Today, however, the curriculum seems to be in a state of permanent revolution. The new GCSEs, for example, are marked on a nine-point scale: a grade of 7 or above indicates what used

Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week | 24 August 2017

Home Big Ben ceased sounding for a planned period of four years, thanks to a decision by the Speaker and two Commons committees. The silence was attributed to the need to protect the hearing of workmen restoring the Elizabeth Tower, though experts on the bell and on previous restorations saw no reason for it. A


Diary – 24 August 2017

It has been a summer of tears, both of joy and sorrow. The latter first: how could stones not weep at the spectacle of this Gadarene government leading us towards the cliff edge with a show of insouciance on the part of Fox, Davis, Johnson that would be thought excessive at a wedding, never mind

Ancient and modern

The big business of teaching

As expected, the prospect of charging £9,000 (and rising) per annum, per student has universities abandoning any pretence to maintaining standards in favour of piling ’em high. Ancient ‘universities’ knew all about it. Ancient education was private. A city might pay a ‘lecturer’ a small retainer, but he made his money through the fees he


Letters | 24 August 2017

In defence of General Lee Sir: In your leader ‘America’s identity crisis’ (19 August) you state that ‘When General Lee emerged as a leader of that rebellion [the secession of the Southern states], we said that he had no cause that stood up to scrutiny.’ The irony is that Lee did not disagree with that