Steven Gerrard may have had a point when warning his England team-mates that "there will be no hiding place if they are knocked out" of the World Cup prematurely. There may even be less public willingness to sympathise with some of the players` tax avoidance scams, and, for some, a "difficult summer", but as long as they go down fighting, showing "character and resilience", the only embarrassed. red face will belong to Tristram Hunt. The shadow education secretary still has to be convinced that such qualities emanate from anywhere but private schools.
However, the lack of "hiding place" will be more relevant for the beleagured state school teachers, especially those responsible for PE. It will be they who will, once the dust has settled, be the ones bearing the majority of blame for the failure, and it will be they whose methods will be examined in the populist media`s attempt to explain the early exit. After all, didn`t the 85% passing accuracy, and Rooney`s expensive miss in the first game, reveal a lack of basic skills which should have been drilled into all boys at an early age? Shouldn`t every primary school employ at least one teacher with the Level three coaching award? A Commons committee might even not only yet again question the competence of our teachers, but even ask the education department to come up with ideas to "attract accomplished teachers" to the PE departments of our state schools! In election year, whilst the players escape to a remote island, the teachers will probably face a government enquiry.
Michael Wilshaw rose to prominence by "turning around" two schools, but he certainly did not do it on his own. He had with him teams of dedicated teachers, "going the extra mile to help" pupils maximise their potential, no matter how difficult the circumstances. How sad it is, then, to read that he now thinks this only happens in independent schools. Like the Commons education committee and Tristram Hunt, Mr Wilshaw may read lots of Ofsted reports, but he certainly does not spend enough time in state schools! He would see pupils displaying "character and resilience" in abundance, and teachers working very hard, not only to keep up with all the government initiatives, but to ensure their students achieve the best possible results. It`s time for the constant criticism to stop, and for the praise to start!