Stephen Fry: The French are “a better educated race” than the British

And the QI presenter thinks education secretary Michael Gove could be on to something with his proposals for a new curriculum...

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QI’s witty front man Stephen Fry has spoken candidly about our education system, saying that French schoolchildren are “better-educated” than their British counterparts.

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“They are currently undertaking a comparative study of French and British primary education, and the French come out so much better,” says the presenter, writer and prolific Tweeter in this week’s Radio Times magazine.

“French schoolchildren, if you see them, are so much more well-behaved and engaged in what they are doing, and concentrating… I think, generally speaking, demonstrably a better-educated race.”

Fry said he did not blame teachers for the problems, but added: “A lot of it is at the right age, somehow getting that gear, that cog fitting that excites a child, that makes them feel pleased with themselves for achieving and for knowing.”

So what does Fry think of education secretary Michael Gove’s proposal to create a school curriculum full of facts? 

“I think he’s absolutely onto something,” said the star. “I don’t think he means knowledge for utilitarian purposes – or I hope he doesn’t.”

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Read the full interview with Stephen Fry in this week’s Radio Times magazine, on sale now