Baroness Deech

The UK has done brilliantly at the Olympic Games.  At the time of writing, we have 55 medals at a cost of £6.3m each, based on the investment of some £347m into elite sport since the last Olympics. The UK has a winning sports strategy.  Young people are spotted, monitored, put into special programmes, encouraged to win, to prepare their bodies for the ultimate effort, to compete with winning as the goal, and ultimately may be supported with National Lottery money so that they can train full time and not have to work at a job.  If they win, not only do they get the glory of the Olympic medal, but lucrative sponsorships, worldwide fame, OBEs, knighthoods, and lifelong benefit.

August has seen the conjunction of two issues about “being the best.” The Olympics. And grammar schools.  The latter are largely unpopular. Children are divided into sheep and goats, it is said, with hurtful effect. Try telling that to those of us who were never ever selected for any sporting team throughout all the years of primary, secondary and tertiary education! Why is it alright to encourage natural talent, and nurture it intensively if it relates to sport, but not if it relates to academic aptitude? Why is selection based on an innate talent, and long years of segregation OK for young athletes but not for young students?

Sport certainly achieves social mobility for some, although it has also been alleged that independent schools, with their superior facilities, produce more medal winners proportionately than state schools. Yet private coaching is anathema when it comes to getting into selective schools. From a small sample of my crossbench colleagues, grammar schools certainly helped many of them to where they are now.  The effect of selective education is most marked with women. I surmise that parents may have been less likely in the past to pay for private education for girls, so clever ones went to grammar schools, and many women were enabled to reach their full potential with that background. A few names to illustrate the benefits of grammar schools for girls: the PM, Helene Hayman, Brenda Hale, Heather Hallett, Nancy Rothwell, Carol Black, Cathy Ashton, Dawn French, Katharine Viner, Camilla Cavendish, Carol Ann Duffy, Fiona Bruce.

What if we invested £347m into elite education and gave the same push to talented academic students as we give to athletes – and the same adulation? Just saying. . .

9 comments for “Grammalympics

  1. MilesJSD
    18/08/2016 at 11:03 pm

    [ … of Our and this Planet Earth’s total essential 7.3 billion-and-increasing
    Working-&-Suffering Human numbers,
    that this microscopic Olympic Athletics-Action focusing percentage …]

    Baroness Deech ‘pushes’ us
    that they –
    And most especially the numbers of young potential-voters among them –
    “… may be spotted…monitored…and ultimately supported by [National Gambling] Lottery profits …”

    “… so that they don’t have to work at a job …”
    Confronting this, my immediate neighbour turned away and stretched into the day’s weather,
    “What a load of crazy hype !”

    when the stretching was finished
    “s/he” turned back and muttered,
    (rather darkly I thought)
    “Every-one has to work at some sort of ‘job’
    even the home kitchen washing-up;

    – and ‘training’ is most definitely work –
    even if you’re not also having to skill-up at drug-concealment;

    – but because Olympic Athletics trainees are also paid
    and otherwise officially protected and supported,
    they are de facto thereby in a “paid-job”
    even if that is special-case or “specialisticly-so” –

    [Humph !
    What good are they doing us all, anyway ?]
    Possibly the Global-Management
    above Parliamentarians’ heads
    should be doing some more exhaustive scrutiny ?

  2. 19/08/2016 at 10:36 am

    Pages and page of coverage given to “Team GB” in the newspapers, sports stars revered all over the place. No-one ever gets such recognition for academic pursuits. Compare a gold medal winner to a cancer researcher. The medal winner is ultimately competing to win the medal for his- or herself first and foremost – and why not, but let’s not pretend it’s primarily for the country. The cancer researcher is also most probably primarily doing their work for the sake of their own career and publication record. The difference is, the latter will never be famous and have pages of coverage in the newspaper, but which of the two people is really doing something that benefits the people reading the newspaper?

  3. maude elwes
    22/08/2016 at 6:01 am

    The Olympics are a farce and have become so political in content it no longer has any significance as a show case for the genuine athlete. By the way, wasn’t this supposed to be a highlight for the ‘amateur’ to expose their incredible ability. That principle has certainly fallen silently by the wayside without a word of aggravation at its loss. As with everything else, including war, it is a money maker for bent corporations and private wealth who make hay from tax payers funding.

    Now we find ourselves watching this kind of lunacy as we gloat, pretending we are nations, whilst, aren’t we are supposed to be backing ‘Globalism’ and the ‘New World Order.’ Extraordinary how the ‘Age of the Stupid’ has rapidly become a trendy phenomena.

    Anyone who signs up for this political exploitation needs their brain tested.

    And I take umbrage with the line that Grammar schools are unpopular. Unpopular with whom? Not the voting public and the parents who long for the opportunity to have their child find one and go to one. Just the way T. May (Wheatley Park, Oxfordshire, was in her time) Jerry Corbyn (Adams Grammar, Shropshire) and others did. Funny how well they made use of it and as soon as they flourished from it, cut it off for the poor who yearn for the right to have an education, uninterrupted by those who grossly resent their ability and the nurturing of it. Yet the athlete, who excels with muscle power and speed is praised and weighed down with medals. What a psychotic way to run a country this is. And here we are going along with it, rather than attacking it, in the same way the brain able are daily head bashed as shameful.

    Now, if our ‘lottery’ money, plus additional public funding, was given at the level it is to support a genuine academic education, for those with far more ongoing prospective years of service, than the muscle bound odd balls, who only last a maximum of twenty years, we may be fortunate enough to see some ‘gold’ in the advancement of mankind in general.

    As a footnote, the claim only Russia has drug induced winners and must be banned completely comes directly from, Huxley’s ‘Brave New World,’ doesn’t it?

  4. Baroness Deech
    Baroness Deech
    22/08/2016 at 4:40 pm

    I agree with Jonathan and Maude – but note the politicians think grammar schools are unpopular. Cancer research – the Olympic medallists will be showered with honours like confetti, even though they have their medals and will be well rewarded in other ways. But not the cancer researcher unfortunately.

  5. MilesJSD
    22/08/2016 at 6:48 pm

    It is the unrecognised truth and physical fact, that our best-sustainworthy
    and available-to-each-and-all
    human action foundations and enablements
    are to be found in the all-round ‘Body-Mind Faculty’ of Somatics.

    It contains both the best physiological-&-Olympic-level enablements
    and the best mind-functional & Academic understandings and insights.

    Whilst Life requires all its creatures to be “doing” it
    not just exclusively ‘competitive’ humans
    sitting decade-after-decade “reading and passing written exams about it”,
    we need to self-disciplinedly alternate
    between briefly reading-the-instructions for “What” to do
    and major-timeframed physically doing and improving our “How” & “What For”.

    [Visit for a short comprehensive list of generic human “Life-Enablements”].

  6. MilesJSD
    30/08/2016 at 7:25 pm

    Moderator: I have just downloaded WordPress 4.6.
    which advises us to inform you.

  7. 08/09/2016 at 8:15 pm

    Last Word:
    It is the millions and billions of plain People worldwide in every Country

    who need the “self-healthing-and-fitnessing” governancial and media focusing support,
    and the local-neighbourhoods sustainworthily emulable holistic-life leadership, ***

    not the few thousands of “the already very-best and fittest” –
    {nor the “already best ‘Social-Mobility’ career-ladders and straight As elites”}.
    *** as cooperative-persons and never as ‘Medical “Health” Service patients, by the way.

  8. 14/09/2016 at 2:06 pm

    A Contextual ‘Final-Word, please
    As a “word-smith-governance-member”, Baroness Deech,
    you must be more aware than most of us
    that the wrong word –
    especially the “seemed-right-at the-time-” terminology –
    not only “can be” the cause of Disasters but more and more often nowadays “is”.

    needs our participatively-cooperative problem-solving

    surely as urgently as Scrutiny-Committees’ and bottom-to-top Scrutiny Sub-Committees can convene ?

  9. MilesJSD
    26/09/2016 at 7:12 am

    It still needs to be being ‘said-&-done’
    both ‘body-grammatically’ and ‘verbally-accurately’

    not just daily but hourly, and minute to minute,
    and not just at ‘expert-top’ or ‘dummies-bottom’

    that Life is
    at a minimum,
    a Threefoldly Alternating Path of:
    1 the Natural-Evolution of the physical body
    2 the natural evolution of the “mind” [including ‘synergics’ and ‘transcendentals’]
    3 the environmentally-dominating influence upon the above two-fold alternation.

    ‘Ergo’, our human-civilisational Task
    throughout Lifeplaces as wellas “sub-focally” throughout Workplaces,
    is to be ‘enhancing’ that Path
    and its manifold environments.

    We need to civilisationally “get over” luxuriating the fittest, whilst spending the defenceless and unfittest:
    “life-enablemenmt” holds a much higher and yet down-to-earth ubiquity and essentiality and therefore priority than such ‘deluding’ terms as career-ladders-cosseted “social-mobility” climbers.

    “Go” genericly-threefold-grammaring-and-limbering,

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