The Government’s former Director General of schools says state schools are failing to teach children right and wrong.
Ralph Tabberer said that in the pursuit of “fairness” the state system had neglected the “development of character”.
Mr Tabberer, who left the Department for Children, Schools and Families last year and now holds a senior position at a chain of independent schools, said the UK’s education system risked being left behind that of other nations.
He said: “The clock’s ticking. Everybody else is catching up because they haven’t got the same struggle to reconcile fairness and excellence.”
He added: “How do you make that the focus of education, and also the development of character, to turn out people who know the difference between right and wrong?
“These are areas which are not getting enough attention in state policy and in the education debate.”
Earlier this year politicians were accused of trying to “stamp their influence on everything”, as a controversial new GCSE syllabus was unveiled which Alan Smithers, Professor of Education at Buckingham University, said had turned the subject into a “pat qualification for political correctness”.
The syllabus, which covers religious attitudes towards leisure, sexuality and the environment, contains just two units focusing on more traditional material, entitled ‘worship and key beliefs’ and ‘religious philosophy’.
“I think it comes from the desire of politicians to stamp their influence on everything. It looks as if they are turning RE in to a pat qualification for political correctness,” Prof Smithers said.
“How is it to benefit the students? It is not going to be a basis for the further study of RE or spirituality to a higher level. All it can do is clock up league table points for the school and keep young people occupied. One has to ask, where is the religion?”
Responding to Mr Tabberer’s comments today on her blog commentator Melanie Phillips said he had “told the truth about the collapse of the British education system under the onslaught by egalitarian Jacobins determined to reset Britain’s cultural calendar to year zero”.
She said: “The capacity of Britain’s education system to transmit knowledge, the culture and identity of the nation and the ability to think has been destroyed by politicians gripped by the lunatic delusion of an egalitarian utopia.”