Mark Andrews: To D or not to D, what is wrong with our education system, and the world's scariest teacher

As the nation tightens its collective belts, it's good to see there is still a bit of public cash for the things that matter most.

Sir Tony Blair
Sir Tony Blair

The council in Bromyard, north Herefordshire, received £90,000 from a government fund to help towns fight back after Covid. Wisely, it hired three marketing experts who concluded that the best way to revive the town was to reverse the letter 'D' on its branding. Like you might expect to see in the homework of a primary school child who won't be troubling the judges on prize-giving day.

To back up the campaign, branding expert Lucy Grafham also came up with the unforgettable slogan "Loved as it is" to go on the new signs.

They should have come to me, I could have come up with a better slogan than that. How about: "Mon3y 4 0ld R0p3"?

* * *

What would you say is wrong with Britain's education system? The fact that half of children leave school without the standard of arithmetic expected of an 11-year-old? Or that teaching unions last year reported some 200,000 pupils starting secondary schools unable to read properly?

Well according to Sir Tony Blair, the real problem is that not enough kids go to university.

That's right. Instead of half of young people starting their careers 50 grand in debt, with a qualification so commonplace it has become practically worthless, Sir Tony thinks the figure should be increased to 70 per cent.

Meanwhile, Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi wants to add an O-level in global warming to the curriculum. Which will really solve the chronic skills shortage in this country, which the present PM is looking for Indian migrants to solve.

* * *

Sylvain Helaine, dubbed the world's most terrifying teacher, has been banned from educating children below the age of six after giving one of them nightmares.

Can't think why. Could it be that Sylvain's entire body and face are almost completely covered in horrible tattoos? Or is it that his eyeballs are filled with black ink, a procedure which left him blind for several days? Imagine the conversation with his headmaster when he called to say he wouldn't be in work that day.

Each to their own, I guess, but I do wonder whether he has chosen the right career. I suspect many parents may have reservations about their children being taught by someone who looks like the baddie out of a Hammer House movie.

Sylvain reckons he has spent £52,000 on his tatts. Probably best to keep quiet about that during the next pay strike.

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