Jamie Oliver isn’t cooking up a treat at the moment

Jamie Oliver's turned his hand to teaching.
Jamie Oliver's turned his hand to teaching.
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COMMENT: Schools do well to use imagination to raise cash

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Don’t our teachers have a hard enough time as it is without being lectured by a man who knows everything about balsamic vinegar but not much about education?

There they are getting on with their jobs and trying to make the best out of the difficult situations they face every day when it turns out all Jamie Oliver thinks they need is... well, him.

If his Dream School programme really wasn’t meant to come across like a kick in the teeth it’s failed. But what else was Oliver thinking he could achieve by bringing a bunch of worthy non-teachers (it’s not proper to call Andrew Motion and David Starkey celebrities) into the classroom?

His starting point never looked that promising. Take 20 troubled kids and Britain’s ‘most inspiring’ individuals and watch them go to war. Oh no, that was the producer’s dream scenario. Oliver just wanted his famous friends to persuade these teenagers that education could be for them.

But while a professor of classics from Cambridge, Rolf Harris and Cherie Blair have all achieved great things in their own professional fields, they don’t even appeal to me. And I’m not a 17-year-old lad.

The fact that teachers aren’t really meant to be cool isn’t the issue. You don’t need to know someone can tell the difference between Jessie J and Rihanna before you accept that they can teach you how to spell and do basic maths.

But the truth of the matter is that teaching is a skill in its own right. Maybe Oliver should have used real teachers instead of insinuating that others could do a better job.

Rather predictably, the Channel 4 programme has experienced some rather spectacular setbacks. Most notably historian Starkey calling an overweight teenager fat.

So, it’s a patronising programme and Oliver’s fundamental theory – that all disaffected kids need is 100 per cent attention from people who aren’t teachers – isn’t even working.

I like Oliver. And it’s clear he has more interest in the world around him than most of his TV chef contemporaries. But next time he should stick to cooking.