Former Ofsted chief calls on teachers to ‘sacrifice their lives’, but the teachers are having none of it

Former Ofsted head Michael Wilshaw during Newsnight interview
Support us and go ad-free

During an interview on BBC Newsnight, former Ofsted chief Michael Wilshaw suggested that teachers should be prepared to sacrifice their lives to help close the educational attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers, that has widened as a result of school closures.

Wilshaw told Emily Maitlis:

You have to compare this with the medical emergency over the last year and the commitment on the part of medical professionals, and nurses, and doctors. They’ve gone the extra mile at great cost to themselves, and their families, their health – they have sacrificed their lives in some cases. We need a similar commitment by the teaching profession over the next academic year.

General secretary of the National Education Union Mary Bousted was quick to rebut Wilshaw’s comments, saying:

Teachers have already gone way above the extra mile.

Edu Twitter lashes out

Educators took to Twitter to express their confusion, shock, and anger at Wilshaw’s absurd comments. Creative Youth charity chair Robin Hutchinson had one thing to say:

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

Berinsfield councillor Robin Bennett expressed his utter disbelief at Wilshaw’s comments, saying:

Simon Gosden called Wilshaw’s comments “unbelievable garbage”:

And Saima Ferdows simply responded with:

Another user responded with this tongue-in-cheek comment:

And Emma Bell had some strong words for Wilshaw:


Healthcare workers are dying, so should teachers?

Let’s not forget that UK healthcare workers only died in such high numbers because of colossal and avoidable government failures. They didn’t take too kindly to being ‘sacrificed’ by an incompetent government either. Retired lawyer Fionna O’Leary expressed her shock at Wilshaw’s comments, adding that neither teachers’ nor healthcare workers’ lives should be at risk due to a lack of protection:

One Twitter user highlighted just how “scary” Wilshaw‘s comments are:

Robert Lindsay highlighted the flawed logic in Wilshaw’s comments, saying:

Another user added:

Ofsted’s double standards

Primary school teacher and Southwark councillor James McAsh praised Mary Bousted’s sturdy rebuttal, adding “it’s no wonder Ofsted is hated”:

Jen spoke out against the double standards inherent in expecting teachers to sacrifice their lives while deeming schools unsafe for Ofsted inspectors to visit:

Another user seconded this sentiment:

As did someone else:

Some alternatives to killing off teachers

Educators took to Twitter to share some viable alternatives to asking Britain’s teachers to ‘sacrifice their lives’. Education lecturer Daryn Egan-Simon that “teachers have been sacrificing their lives for years” and it’s time for the government to step up and invest in children’s services so that teachers can actually get on with teaching:

Wilshaw’s comments are utterly absurd and out of touch. Teachers have been working through the pandemic to provide the best education they can with insufficient resources and protection. The government now intends to reopen underfunded schools without vaccinating teachers or providing sufficient extra support. The government is wholly responsible for the widening attainment gap – not teachers.

Featured image via National Education Union/YouTube

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us
  • Show Comments
    1. Death is the prime motive for profit by The Conservative & Fascist Party. Not content with selling munitions and weapons that have caused devastation to the citizens in The Yemen, Iraq & Syria,The Austerity Cull and now the on-going Pandemic Cull, Ofsted are supporting the cull of medical staff and now teachers. HMP Plague Island (formerly the UK) is an open prison, run by the multi-millionaire class for the benefit of the multi-millionaire class. Time to man the barricades.

    Leave a Reply

    Join the conversation

    Please read our comment moderation policy here.