BLACKADDER star Sir Tony Robinson has said that teachers would be valued more if parents stopped treating them like “babysitters”.
The actor, famous for playing Baldrick in the classic BBC comedy has said that society does not value good teachers enough and does not pay them like the integral professionals that they are.
He says that one result of this is that good teachers leave the profession because they are exhausted.
Then, he argues, the lack of great educators mean that very intelligent children develop a “contempt” for school.
Talking about the state of education in the UK, Robinson said: “I think it would help if we used a different vocabulary for education from the one we’ve got now. We really want to think of education outside the narrow stricture of exams.
“And, if education was really much more integrated into the whole of society – if it stopped being a posh word for ‘baby-sitting’ – we’d value teachers more.
“Teachers get exhausted, teachers get tired, and an awful lot of good people leave the profession. And then, suddenly, there’s panic again, and we have to start paying teachers well again.
“I’m fascinated by the idea that we’ve got these really, really bright kids, and they have absolute contempt for school, while school just passes them by.”
Revealing his cunning plan for education, Robinson explained that we need to stop testing so intensely.
He added: “Education is something that these people – teachers – do to our children.
“And if they do it well, they’re doing it properly. And if they do it badly, then we put them under a series of microscopic slides, and force them to do exams at 7, 11 and 16.”
“We’re living with enormous change. If we want to change, then we have to change our institutions with it.”
Sir Tony also criticised Michael Gove for the then-education secretary’s 2014 attack on Blackadder.
Gove said that the First World War is often seen by Brits “through the fictional prism of dramas such as Oh! What a Lovely War, The Monocled Mutineer and Blackadder, as a misbegotten shambles – a series of catastrophic mistakes perpetrated by an out-of-touch elite.
“Even to this day there are Left-wing academics all too happy to feed those myths.”
But Robinson hit back at the time and called the comments irresponsible.
And speaking to the magazine, he added: “It’s like saying that you shouldn’t teach Wilfred Owen, because then kids will think the whole of the First World War rhymed. It’s such a literal way of thinking.
“A decent teacher will use it to impart certain things – to bounce certain things off them – so kids can get excited about something.”