Over the last couple of weeks I have to admit that I have been captivated by Jamie Oliver’s “Dream School”. At times this captivation has manifested through shouting at the TV, arguing with my other half about education policy or as the rediscovered childish delight of seeing Rolf Harris drawing on TV again.

In spite of all of the chattering and obsessive texting (seriously, just ban phones in class) the teenagers often appear genuinely interested. Several of them appeared to encourage David Starkey after his second lesson telling him that he did well and he was clearly delighted that he didn’t have to resort to calling them ‘fat’ or ‘porcine’ this week. Simon Callow’s class and theatre trip seemed to engage them less, but to be fair I know several well educated adults that would pale at the thought of having to sit through a play. Alistair Campbell’s guide to arguing had them out of their seats debating issues such as footballer’s pay and their own potential careers in politics. The majority of these snippets are on the website Most of the dream school teachers actually seemed to capture their interest despite being terrified that they were going to be eaten alive.

However, if the footage was all positive then Channel 4 would have been disappointed in their controversial investment/ experiment. The fight between the two teenage girls would not have been out of place in a BBC2 wildlife documentary on primates, complete with circling and chest beating. Some of the kids just appear to suffer from an I-can’t-be-arsed attitude which is hard to sympathise with. There are several kids from much worse situations than these who would love a spot in Dream School; those from tough backgrounds, those who are carers for a parent and kids with no family. Why are they sidelined in favour of some kids who have been excluded from school? I’m also slightly confused by Jamie’s message here. He left school with no qualifications but with some hard graft made it as a successful chef, now he lectures kids on the importance of education. I’m sure Jamie’s heart is in the right place but maybe dream school would benefit from some more entrepreneurial and less academic members of staff?

Have you ever been asked who your ideal dinner party guests, dead or alive, would be? I’ve decided to take this premise and apply it to my own selection for the Dream School staff room. Since I was a student for so long it includes a star from Countdown (which I am not ashamed of) and would go as follows;

  • English: My secondary school English teacher (not famous but she should be)
  • Maths: Carol Vorderman
  • French: Jean Reno
  • Biology: Charles Darwin & Rosalind Franklin
  • Physics: Brian Cox
  • Chemistry: Marie Curie
  • Geography: Michael Palin
  • History: The Monty Python team
  • Media Studies: Andrew Marr
  • Politics: A driver for one of the ministers (apparently they know everything)
  • PE: Paula Radcliffe
  • Music: Gary Barlow

Additional suggestions are welcome!

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