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Schools turning out amoral students, says Shropshire headteacher

Telford | News | Published:

Schools are turning out amoral children because they are failing to teach them right from wrong, according to a Shropshire headmaster.

Too much time in many state schools is spent on academic studies, leaving youngsters missing out on a rounded education, Richard Walden, chairman of the Independent Schools Association (ISA) said.

In a speech today at the opening of the ISA's annual conference in Warwickshire, Mr Walden was expected to warn that teachers in state schools were being "overwhelmed" by the pressure to get good results and this is distracting them from teaching pupils good values.

Mr Walden is head at Castle House School in Newport, where parents pay up to £2,289 a term.

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"Schools are turning out too many amoral children because teachers cannot find the time to teach the difference between right and wrong," he was expected to say.

"This focus on league tables and attainment levels distracts teachers and effectively disables them from providing children with a more rounded and enriching education, one that will give them the moral compass they need for life."

Mr Walden was also due to say that private schools devote much of their time to extra-curricular activities, a wide curriculum and personal, social, health and economic education.

Learning good values allows pupils to "distinguish the good from the bad and the true from the false". And he argues that fee-paying schools are very good at developing pupils' character.

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"The very nature of our schools, with their respect for discipline and academic seriousness, sport and culture, citizenship and community, service, environmental awareness, spiritual life and personal responsibility, sends out into the world young people with emotional intelligence, developed moral understanding and a willingness to make a contribution to society.

"These are not measureable by statistics or on inspectors' tick charts, but they are the qualities that employers want and the world needs.

"We cannot measure the growth of maturity in a young person grade by grade. It is not a linear progression anyway.

"It takes time, but if we hold our nerve as educators and as schools, and that may mean resisting the demands of parents who want quick-fix results, or the pressures of external statistical grading systems, not to mention the difficult financial situations that we can face, if we hold our nerve, we will continue to turn out well-rounded individuals who make a difference to society, as we have for many years."

Privately educated children do well not because they are from "elitist or privileged" backgrounds, he suggests, but because they receive a "value-rich education, provided with love".

  • Star comment: Rounded education important

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