Anorak News | Teachers See Red Over Blue Schoolbook

Teachers See Red Over Blue Schoolbook

by | 26th, August 2003

‘AN Essex schoolboy has declared war on ‘progressive’ education in a pamphlet he believes will ‘fire the imagination of young people everywhere’. But his teachers are less enthusiastic, and he has upset some of them with his outspoken views.

‘You might laugh now – but giving me a damn good thrashing will only make me stronger,’ says Richards

Barry Richards, 16, is a pupil at the Wat Tyler comprehensive in Grays, and a leading member of the Essex Young Conservatives.

His book, The Little Blue Schoolbook, is a riposte to controversial Little Red Schoolbook, which was published in the UK earlier this year. But whereas the original enjoins pupils to organise strikes and demonstrations, Richards’ version extols the virtues of obedience, patriotism and polished shoes.

‘It is aimed at normal, decent young people who have no interest in pop music or demonstrations,’ he said, adding that he did not wish to be ‘brainwashed by left-wing teachers – or commissars, as they should be called’.

This is not the first time that Richards has been in the news. Two years ago he attracted headlines when his school abolished its school uniform. Richards responded by creating his own, complete with cap, blazer, tie, shorts and socks.

A series of letters to national newspapers created wider interest, and led to the launch of his ‘Stand Up for Standards’ campaign. He was particularly critical of teachers, accusing them of having no pride in their appearance and setting a poor example to pupils.

‘It’s high time some of them had a bath and did a bit of business with Mr Wilkinson and his sword,’ he declared.

The shorts may have gone – replaced by smart grey trousers – but the attitude is unchanged. ‘This’ll get the Reds on the run,’ he told reporters, brandishing a copy of his manifesto outside the school gates. However, his fellow pupils appear to be unconvinced by his rhetoric.

Most regard him as a figure of fun rather than a potent new political force, and have declined his offer of a cut-price copy. There was little sign of animosity, though.

Two bearded protesters proffered a leaflet entitled The Truth About The Little Fascist Schoolbook, but there were few takers.

A spokesman for the NUT confirmed that there had been ‘a disagreement’ between Richards and a female member of staff the previous day, although he said that there had been no suggestion of industrial action.

Compiled by Ed Barrett’

Posted: 26th, August 2003 | In: Reviews Comment | TrackBack | Permalink