Ann Widdecombe has said concerns teachers have about carrying out lessons remotely were “a load of rubbish”.
The former Brexit MEP used a guest appearance on Channel 5’s Jeremy Vine show to chide teachers who were concerned about parents spying on lessons over Zoom.
“I’ve heard a load of rubbish talked during this pandemic and this is the biggest load of rubbish yet,” the former Tory MP spouted. “Does it really matter if mum or dad is really off-camera, following the lesson so they know what their child is supposed to learn?
“Is there anything wrong with mum or dad looking at the message they are teaching?”
But when host Jeremy Vine tried to share a different perspective, Widdecombe abruptly cut him off, telling him to “just hang on” until she had finished.
She then hit out at suggestions she was “bashing teachers”. “This is not about bashing teachers, it’s bashing a lunatic element of the teachers,” she boasted.
When told teachers might find the presence of parents “offputting”, Widdecombe replied that it was impossible to tell if parents remained well-hidden.
Dr Sarah Jarvis found herself somewhat agreeing with the former politician.
“I think this is a nonsense for a very different reason…Really importantly, there is this huge divide between rich and poor, between the most affluent and the most deprived.
“The more deprived an area you are in, the less likely these kids are to be getting online teaching.
“There is no question in my mind that live learning – where you can actually ask a question in real-time – is going to improve your prospects and I’m very worried about the prospects of a whole generation of kids.”
Speaking out on Twitter, one user, by the name Shellyrunner, said: “There’s always something with these sort of people. Lazy teachers / lazy workers / the EU. Always something to spout off about. She is in a privileged position and yet she does little to motivate. Bad form as always.”
There’s always something with these sort of people. Lazy teachers / lazy workers / the EU. Always something to spout off about. She is in a privileged position and yet she does little to motivate . Bad form as always
— Shellyrunner (@Shellyrunner) January 11, 2021
Andrew G added: “And you wonder why teachers are uncomfortable about this???”
Others agreed with Widdecombe. One user posted: “I can see that parents could add value to the lesson. Effectively being classroom assistants. Able to reinforce the lesson afterward. But there will be those that interrupt and interfere with the flow of the lesson too. Need to mute them.”