The invaluable role of teachers

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WIDELY regarded as the coming man of British banking, the rise of Andy Haldane – named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world – highlights the invaluable role of inspirational teachers as role models.

For, without the likes of economic teacher Peter Bates capturing the imagination of pupils at Guiseley School by putting dry and dense statistics into their social context during Britain’s industrial tumult in the early 1980s, Mr Haldane’s talents would be lost to banking – and the country.

As such, the Yorkshireman’s illuminating back story serves as a salutary reminder to Education Secretary Michael Gove not to stifle the creative talents of those teachers whose natural enthusiasm must be allowed to take precedence over the demands of the Government’s latest diktats.

This personal awareness of economic policy’s social dimensions – fathers of Mr Haldane’s school contemporaries were out of work at the time – can only serve him well in his role as the Bank of England’s chief economist, executive director and member of the Monetary Policy Committee which determines interest rates.

While some may regret Mr Haldane’s reluctance to countenance regional interest rates to lessen the impact of London’s overheated housing market on the national economy – he says this would necessitate separate currencies – others will reassured by his comments that likely rises in interest rates, still at a record low, will be modest.

However, what is striking is the manner in which the Bank of England’s leadership team have been forthcoming about future intentions.

This openness is just as important as the central bank having a man at the helm who understands Yorkshire’s needs.

A lesson in values: Schools must be tolerant of all

BY ENCOURAGING community and industry-led free schools and academies, the Government is, in fact, responding to the challenges posed by a multi-cultural society and allowing people from all faiths to be active participants in education.

Yet, as the so-called Trojan Horse controversy in Birmingham has demonstrated, there do need to be safeguards in place to ensure that impressionable young people do not have the opportunity to be radicalised by extremists, and it is disappointing that the Muslim Council of Britain does not appear to understand – or accept – the need for this requirement.

As Professor Sir Keith Burnett, the vice-chancellor of the University of Sheffield, set out so eloquently yesterday on these pages, the social conscience of Britons is one of this country’s greatest values and needs to be cherished by all.

It has also become clear, in recent weeks, that Britain’s values are shared by a majority of Muslim families who have no desire for their children to undergo a deeply conservative teaching of Islam and this is reflected by Education Secretary Michael Gove stressing that there is absolutely no bar to Muslims becoming school governors.

But he is right when he says that there should be no place in Britain’s schools for those whose views are incompatible with the rule of law as well as tolerance and respect for all.

England own goal: Overseas stars are Achilles’ heel

AT LEAST England had a ready-made excuse in 1958 when its football side last failed to advance from the World Cup group stages – the side was still reeling from the Munich tragedy whose victims included top class internationals like Barnsley’s Tommy Taylor and the much revered Duncan Edwards.

Yet, while expectations were low when Roy Hodgson’s side flew to Brazil, dispiriting defeats to Italy, and now Uruguay, have kickstarted the biennial debate about why England – the country that gave football to the world – has not won a major tournament since 1966.

Many were rueful at Hodgson’s brave decision to put youth before experience – a tactical approach which saw Mario Balotelli and Luis Suarez expose England’s defensive limitations.

Both may have their character flaws, but both are predatory strikers who honed their instincts in the Premier League and this is now football’s Achilles’ heel. For, while the dramatic rise in foreign players has transformed the sport, this has invariably been at the expense of young home-grown players who can’t now get a game in the best league in the world. With such own goals, is it any wonder, therefore, that England’s international campaigns are now so shortlived?