Getting the Isle of Wight on its feet

David Hoare, the Chairman of Ofsted (the UK schools inspection agency) was shopped by a fellow dinner guest as describing the Isle of Wight — situated just off the southern coast — as: ” . . . an inbred poor white ghetto.” .

He apologised later. He hadn’t said the words in public. He describes his job as “Fantastic. I love what I’m doing;”. And, with a population of 140,000 there’s no chance of inbreeding so he couldn’t have meant it strictly. He meant it as a joke, probably . . . after a glass or two of wine.

But unfortunately, with the Isle of Wight’s highly talented young people each generation tending to leave. the island is highly likely to be culturally inbred. With high unemployment, thus not being able to attract talented young people, in turn, from the mainland, then its ideas will tend to fossilize. Undoubtedly, this is why its local authority batch of state secondary schools is the second worst n the country, and the third worst at primary school level.

There’s no hope for the Isle of Wight’s children until, somehow, some highly talented teachers can be attracted there. Why doesn’t our Minister for Education do for the Isle of Wight what Deng Xiaoping did for China in 1979 when reviving the country? Establish some Free Enterprise zones where there’s no possible interference from the UK’s Education Department in Whitehall.

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