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Tuesday 8 August 2017, Gareth Sturdy

How Ofsted helped create the cotton-wool kids

Forum member Gareth Sturdy has written for spiked in the light of Ofsted chief Amanda Spielman's comments on over-protecting children.

‘Anyone who has taught a class of 14-year-olds knows Tommy Two-Face. He is the loudest in the class. But, as you’re quietening them all down, he hams up a load of frustration and shouts ‘shush, you lot!’, as if he alone was blameless.

I thought about hypocritical Tommy at the weekend, when I read the latest declaration from Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman. Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, she blamed schools for a culture of over-protection. Children are being wrapped in cotton wool, she argued, by headteachers who are unable to distinguish between real and imagined risk.

Readers of spiked will raise two cheers to this. Learning should be about physical and intellectual adventure, and today’s risk-averse culture stops kids from getting the most out of their education. Wearing hi-vis jackets on school trips and banning conkers in the playground does indeed hold children back.

But as much as Spielman is right to declare that health-and-safety policies are denying pupils the opportunity to develop resilience, she needs to go further to tackle the problem of mollycoddled kids.’

Read the full article here.

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The IoI Education Forum aims to encourage open and informal debate between teachers and education professionals from a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives.

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