I have been a teacher for 26 years, a Headteacher for 11 years and, at the age of 50, this much I know about my students’ cultural lives (and being the same age as Nigel Farage…)


I discovered yesterday that not one of my Economics A level students listens to PM, the news programme hosted by Eddie Mair on Radio 4. I was using a snippet from last Tuesday’s programme on the threat of deflation; when I suggested that they should listen to PM because it would help them with their studies, they were aghast. “Is it all, just, like, all talking? Is there not even the odd bit of music?” asked Jack. It was a skirmish I was never going to win.


The trouble is, if my students aspire to greatness, occasionally they really should listen to PM. Now, I know that, at 50 years old, I am younger than the average PM listener; I know that I am almost exactly the same age as Nigel Farage (holds his head and weeps openly); I know much about the cultural lives of 18 year olds, as I cohabit with a prime example of one myself, but I just wonder how we can motivate our youngsters to aspire to find out more about how our world works, so they can play a greater role in shaping its future.

UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage reacts during a media interview outside the Marquis of Granby, Westminster in central London

Or perhaps they just find out about the world on the latest App…


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This post has 4 Comments

  1. I think it’s what you’ve said at the end – they find out about the world from other sources, if they’re starting to be interested. I’ve got to admit, I’m so sick of the Today version of the world I stopped listening a long time ago. I know PM is a bit better, but it’s still v ‘BBC biased’. We can tailor our news to suit our interests – maybe you want to find out where they get their news + views about the world from?

  2. I find the same from my students, but I agree with Penny above. I too gave up on R4 current affairs. I used to get to school in the morning way too stressed out as a result…
    I’m not sure I was very interested at their age either (far too busy playing music) – they will discover it later if they’re going to, and forcing it on them may prove counter-productive. Music, relationships, socialising – it’s probably what one’s teens are for. They’ll have plenty of time in later life to have to deal with the tough stuff.
    And don’t forget, there is also the presence of the late-teen empathy drop, which makes sense to me.

  3. Like you, finding out that we are the same age as Nigel Farage is not good. But, like a class full of children who are only collected together chronologically, we can’t be compared intellectually. Remember to, that a lot of youngsters in the past have grew up to be socially responsible adults and tuned in to major issues… Don’t you remember? It’s there time not ours. Enjoying your blog sir.

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