Idea to ban failure gets 0 out of 10

EDUCATION Secretary Ruth Kelly today dismissed an retired Ipswich teacher's call for the word "fail" to be banned from schools and replaced with "deferred success''.

EDUCATION Secretary Ruth Kelly today dismissed an retired Ipswich teacher's call for the word "fail" to be banned from schools and replaced with "deferred success''.

The Professional Association of Teachers (PAT) will debate the idea, put forward by former Ipswich teacher Liz Beattie, at the union's annual conference next week.

As reported in the Evening Star yesterday , Mrs Beattie said: "I think we all need to succeed at something. You need encouragement rather than being told you haven't done very well."

But Ms Kelly said she thought the notion of "deferred success'' instead of failure deserved "nought out of 10''.

Young people must learn about success and failure in order to prepare themselves for adult life, she said.

The minister told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "To be quite honest, I think it's really important for young people to grow up with the ability to get on and achieve, but also to find out what failure is.

Most Read

"When young people grow up and enter the adult world they have to deal with success and failure, and education is about creating well-rounded young people who can deal with these sorts of situations.''

Jean Gemmell, PAT general secretary, defended the ideas behind the motion and suggested that Ms Kelly was being too "simplistic''.

She said it was "unhelpful'' and "unfortunate'' that Ms Kelly was commenting on a motion which had not even been debated yet, and was therefore not yet PAT policy.

"It's easy to look at the words of the debate motion and be simplistic about it.''

She went on: "Of course there are things that we all fail at and many of them don't matter.

"I fail at trying to play tennis - so I don't play tennis,'' she said.

"We are talking about young people who struggle to read, write and can't relate to other people.

"These are things you cannot be allowed to fail at.''

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter