Every school should have a ‘useless teacher’, according to the chairman of the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted), Zenna Atkins: a bad teacher helps children learn how to ‘manage’ people who are not good at their jobs.
Atkins,44, said: ‘It’s about learning to identify good role models. One good thing about primary school is that every kid learns how to deal with a really bad teacher. In the private sector, as a rule, you need to performance manage 10 per cent of people out of the business. But I don’t think that should be the case in schools. I would not remove every single useless teacher because every grown up in a workplace needs to learn to cope with the moron who sits four desks down without lamping them and to deal with authority that’s useless. I’d like to keep the number low, but if every primary school has one pretty naff teacher, this helps kids realise that even if you know the quality of authority is not good, you have to learn how to play it. Schools need to reflect society, especially at primary level. In society there are people you don’t like, there are people who are incompetent and there are often people above you in authority who you think are incompetent, and learning that ability to deal with that and, actually surviving that environment can be an advantage.’
She also recommended schools use violent computer games to teach maths as they help “intuitive thinking”.
The comments also follow a report last week which said that, although the General Teaching Council estimated two years ago that there could be as many as 17,000 sub-standard teachers circulating in Britain, just 18 had been struck off in the last ten years.
The 44-year-old married mother of two children and two step children was appointed as the first Chairman of Ofsted in September 2006 with the remit to ‘help ensure a better deal for children and adult learners in England’.
Atkins was seen as an ideal figure to do this having overcome her own chequered education to become an Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year.
Ms Atkins, who is dyslexic, was born in London but educated at St Clare’s, a private school in Penzance that has since closed, and attended Cornwall College of Further Education.
Her father was an academic who spoke 17 languages while her mother was also dyslexic.
No copyright infringement intended. For educational, non-commercial purposes only.