Heston Blumenthal criticises ‘Victorian’ school system which stigmatises ‘special needs’ ADHD children

The Telegraph is reporting that Heston Blumenthal, who was diagnosed with a hyperactivity disorder at the age of 50, has criticised the outdated school system for stigmatising “special needs” children.

The celebrity chef said that students will only learn to be creative if they are taught not to be afraid of failure, but warned that they are being turned into robots by a Victorian-era system that “measures the crap out of everything”.

Blumenthal was learned that he suffered from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) earlier this year, told Times Education Supplement: “Kids with ADHD tend to be put in the special-needs category, and they’re stigmatised.

“That’s because the schooling system was created in the Victorian time – the Victorians measured the crap out of everything.

“When people say you have ADHD, they think you’re throwing things around,” he said.

“But it’s not: it’s that one thought comes in and knocks another one out temporarily. When I’m working, it’s fantastic: I can have 20 webpages open, with two projects, and keep joining the dots and making connections.

“But I accept that, possibly, possibly, it makes me a little difficult to live with. You go upstairs and come down with something you were looking for six months ago. But you forgot what you were looking for in the first place.”

He said that rather than trying to teach children to be creative, teachers need to “Remove the straitjacket of fear. Of fear of failure. And then creativity happens.”

More at: Heston Blumenthal criticises ‘Victorian’ school system which stigmatises ‘special needs’ ADHD children

Do you agree with Heston that we need to change how we treat SEN students? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter. ~ Sophie

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  1. Nairb1

    Stick to cooking Heston. Or maybe he can advise teachers how they can remove ‘fear of failure’ when they have an increasingly damaging series of tests to push children though. Criticise the high stakes testing by all means but don’t limit it to one group of children and don’t lecture teachers on what they ‘need to do.’

  2. KathrynKashyap

    SchoolsImprove stigma rampant but many children still without the support they need. Provision with positivity #Specialneeds #inclusion

  3. Anjbon

    Oh dear oh dear. Heston. It appears you’ve not been in a school lately. Very good if you to pop into an independent school in Chelsea, where the reality of everyday teaching in a state/comp secondary school is light years away. It sounds like your views of what these schools are achieving is from the Victorian era! Considering the often ‘Victorian approach’ to education that independent / fee paying school’s adopt, it is no wonder you reached this conclusion.
    Adopting a creative approach to education, which positively encourages a cross curricular approach, is rife in our primary schools and the de stigmatisation of children who need additional support is high on the agenda. I do agree that ‘measuring the crap out if everything’ is not helpful, but please be aware that the stigmatisation is only reinforced by people who do not have the understanding of what teachers on the ground are trying to achieve.
    Gosh. That was a bit ranty from me!!! But it’s an area that is easy to point the finger at before actually witnessing what goes on in the real world of today’s schools.

  4. helenecdexter

    SchoolsImprove DDLabour Couldn’t agree more!! It’s the basis of my work with children. Amazing what happens when kids free to create!

  5. helenecdexter

    FergusMason1 SchoolsImprove You seem a person living in the past. I don’t envy your hatred or perspective on the world.But it’s yours.Bye

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