back to article Balls saves history lessons from Facebook and Twitter

Ed Balls pulled middle Britain back from the brink yesterday, by telling a teachers' conference that children won't be forced to learn to Twitter and Facebook instead of studying the Victorians and Roman Britain. The Daily Mail reading classes were sent into apoplexy last week over a "leaked report", which apparently dictated …


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  1. Francis Fish

    This is old news

    Featured on Radio 4's Today over a month ago, with same explanation from Balls. Then takes tabloids 3 weeks to notice. Then gets denied again.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    5th November

    I prefer to think of bonfire night as something to keep MPs nervous though these days they seem to have such thick skins and an overwhelming belief in their own infallibility that I doubt anything gets through to them. - heartwarming stuff.

    Now that HMG is recording every website we visit and every email we send doubtless I'll be on a list somewhere for watching that clip.


  3. sig

    And here we go again

    Every so often a report will declare that children should be taught 'relevant' skills. The government will wait to gauge public reaction before declaring 'only kidding'.

    Proponents of this witless pandering to fashion always miss the point that new activities like Twatter and MeSpace are taken up and popularised by people without any relevant training or qualification.

    The skills children *need* to be taught are the basic ones: literacy and numeracy. Understanding and critical thinking build on these through science, history, geography, literature, languages, crafts and so on. Music, drama and physical education complete the picture.

    Our society and economy needs people who are adaptable, flexible and creative rather than the drones required by the new Statism.

  4. Hollerith

    Spelling and reading are both key

    If you can't spell or read, you can't use the internet well. I've seen people baffled because they couldn't 'read' a URL, couldn't read (comprehend) instructions, and didn't know how to spell well enough to use text fields and so on with any confidence. Our message board at work has so many sad apologies 9i.e. sp! or equivalent.) Meaning is obscured when people struggle to spell correctly. Teachers can't seem to manage it (they don't know themselves, I find all too often) and it is distressing that we are disenfranchising children, not because we don't teach them Twitter and the like, but because we don't give them the basic building blocks of the Internet, which is reading and writing.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Balls By Name

    Balls by nature. Should call him Jockstrap 'cos he's full of bollocks.

  6. Dave


    "also wrote the world's most popular phone hold music"

    Citation please? Or at least some hint as to the punchline...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    110 pursent crect

  8. Richard Thomas

    Re: Henry

    '"also wrote the world's most popular phone hold music"

    Citation please? Or at least some hint as to the punchline...'

    You see? This is what happens when you stop teaching history.

  9. Pie

    Re: Henry

    Indeed, I did a rather good dance to this music when 30 years ago at school. Well my mum liked it anyway.

  10. Graham Marsden


    There's a myth that Henry VIII wrote "Greensleeves", tinny renditions of which can be heard on cheap phones with a "hold" facility.

  11. Edward Miles


    The Spanish Armada was an even bigger threat than Groove Armada

    Bollocks! The Spanish Armada didn't actually damage anything in Britain, whereas groove armada...


  12. Tyfach

    Re:Re: Henry

    '"also wrote the world's most popular phone hold music"

    Blimey - Henry VIII penned Vivalidi's Four Seasons? So much more to the big ginge than offing the missus and putting the monasteries into solution...

  13. Lottie

    History should be taught too

    Henry didn't write Greensleeves (I assume that's what you were referring to), it's a myth.

    Even Wiki knows that:

    Mind you, it's fun to suggest that he did to a music historian and watch them turn red :-)

  14. steogede

    Re: Re: Henry

    >> '"also wrote the world's most popular phone hold music"

    >> Citation please? Or at least some hint as to the punchline...'

    >> You see? This is what happens when you stop teaching history.

    The Big Book of Lies (Wikipaedia) is fairly convinced that Henry didn't compose the tune in question - though I suppose he may still have written the lyrics to Greensleeves.

  15. Martin Lyne


    "People write their daily bullshit in under 180 characters hoping another person cares enough to read it"

    There, I taught you twitter in a tweet near enough.

    Now I'm going to go wash my hands/mouth.

    How about we teach the kids how to stand up for their democracy and privacy? Always assuming that the TERRORISTS haven't blown all the schools and ISPs up first

    (Emphasis is the governments in accordance with the latest amendments to the Terrorists Act to make sure we all understand the magnitude of the threat)

  16. Antony Riley

    IT Teachers.

    Well it would be nice that the teachers are actually teaching something they'll understand for a change.

    Unfortunately it's not what's needed.

    The vast majority of IT teachers seem to be so scared of the technology (or more specifically the students breaking it) that they won't let the students do anything, and consequentially most of the students only learn to be scared of the technology.

  17. James Pickett


    I love the idea that children won't discover social sites or Google unless they're on the curriculum!

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