Nick Gibb: “I do know the answer to the question but I’m not going to do so on live television.” In that case, he DIDN’T know the answer – otherwise he’d have demonstrated it, rather than humiliating himself. Right?

The Tory government has opened itself up to more humiliation with the revelation that its ‘schools standards’ minister can’t do his times tables.

Nick Gibb is a former Grammar schoolboy – which suggests that such an education isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and the Tories were right to retire their plan to bring back this form of education.

He’s not the first Tory minister to duck the test. Nicky Morgan – a former Oxford University student – avoided answering multiplication questions when she was Education Secretary.

And when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer (!) George Osborne (educated at multiple independent schools and Oxford) stalled when he was asked to multiply seven by eight.

Here’s Mr Gibb dodging the question on Good Morning Britain:

The other important issue here is the fact that the DfE had to reassure teachers that the results would not be used against them.

What does that say about the system the Tories have imposed on our schools?

I don’t want teachers to be living in fear of some impersonal – and, frankly, ignorant government organisation sticking its oar in and upsetting their work to educate our children.

It’s counter-productive – but then, perhaps that’s the idea. Tories don’t want ordinary children to have a decent education because it would show them up.

After all, Tory ministers who were privately-educated and then attended Oxford still can’t do multiplication in their heads.

Tests to check whether eight- and nine-year-olds know their times tables will be trialled in some primary schools in England next month before being rolled out nationally.

The test, which ministers hope will improve pupils’ numeracy, will become mandatory in 2020 for all year 4 students.

The government says the on-screen test, which assesses knowledge of the times tables up to 12, will last no longer than five minutes and has been designed to avoid causing additional stress for children and teachers.

The Department for Education sought to reassure teachers that the results would not be published and would not be used by the schools watchdog Ofsted to enforce any changes.

Source: Times table tests to be trialled in primary schools in March | Education | The Guardian

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