CREDIT: ITV PICTURE DESK
Love Island is “appalling” and a “sad reflection of the education system”, the former chief inspector of schools has said.
Sir Michael Wilshaw said he has only watched a few minutes of the reality television show but it was enough for him to see how ignorant contestants were.
Speaking at the annual Festival of Education, held at Wellington College in Berkshire, he was asked about his thoughts on the popular ITV series.
Sir Michael said: “I saw five minutes of it the other day and was absolutely appalled. It is a sad reflection of today’s education system.”
Love Island, which won a Bafta television award last month, is a dating reality show centred around a group of young men and women who stay on a luxury villa in Majorca.
Such is the popularity of Love Island that it has become ITV2’s most-watched show ever, attracting almost three million viewers for the opening night of its fourth series earlier this month. This year, more people applied the the show than for Oxford and Cambridge combined.
The contestants’ objective is to make sure that they have secured a partner of the opposite sex – known as “coupling up” – by the end of each week.
Contestants were mocked after a discussion last week about Brexit last week, in which Hayley Hughes, a 21-year-old model, claimed she had never heard of Brexit. Miss Hughes, who has three A-levels and went to university, replied “What’s that?” after she was asked what she thought about Brexit.
When told it could involve cuts to trade, she misheard and thought it was about trees. She asked: “So does that mean we won’t have any trees?” Contestants were also ridiculed after misquoting one of William Shakespeare’s most famous lines.
In a challenge on the show, contestants were asked to recall the line: “O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?” Georgia Steele, a 20-year-old Drama student, said instead: “Romeo, Romeo, out thought thy, Romeo” and model Megan Barton, 24, said: “Art thou, shout there, there, there, out.”
The only contestant able to correctly recite the line was civil servant Zara McDermott, a junior policy advisor at the Department for Education.
Miss McDermott, 21, took a sabbatical from the civil service to appear on the ITV dating show. Sir Michael told the Festival of Education that England’s education system is “mediocre”, adding that it is “foolish to claim otherwise”.
He pointed to international rankings which show that England lags far behind many other developed nations, particularly those in the Far East. “We are not doing enough about the long tail of underachievement,” he said. He told delegates that there are some teachers who are “lazy and feckless”, and schools need to “get rid of them”.
“There is an education establishment that doesn’t like change and reform,” he said. Sir Michael also said that the Government should bring in legislation to ban mobile phones in schools.
“It is interesting that President Macron is now bringing in legislation in France to ban mobile phones in state schools in France. We should do the same here,” he said.
“It’s far too distracting for children to have mobile phones; texting, sexting, all the rest of it takes place, mobile phones go off in the classroom – ban them.”