BY Daniel Harkins | February 6 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

5-Hunt, Odene

Shadow Education Secretary criticised over nun remarks

Tristram Hunt’s remarks during last night’s BBC Question Time’s debate have been criticised as an attack on religious teachers, suggesting they are not suitably qualified

A senior Labour politician has been criticised after making apparently derogatory remarks about nuns who teach.

Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt (above, second from the right) had interrupted former Catholic Herald editor Christina Odone (above, far left) during a debate on education on the BBC’s Question Time debate show last night.

Ms Odone had said that ‘the most inspiring teachers I’ve ever encountered were not out of teacher training college.’

“These were nuns,” Mr Hunt interrupted. “These were all nuns, weren’t they? I know about your religious schooling and there’s a difference I think between a state education system having qualified teachers in the classroom.”

Sr Rosanne Reddy of the Sisters of the Gospel of Life in Glasgow (below) said Mr Hunt’s remarks were ignorant and not worth air time.

“I think nuns are people as well—unbelievably!” she told the SCO. “We are actually just real human beings like anyone else and I think we can be as good teachers as anybody else.

“Many people have had a fantastic education at the hands of religious sisters—and many people have had a fantastic education from non-religious teachers.”

Sr Roseann added: “I think most nuns who were teachers would be trained teachers anyway, certainly in this day and age. In the past they wouldn’t have been but in the past they were giving children the only education they were getting.

“When [people] make these sweeping statements it’s just so unhelpful. It shows an incredible amount of ignorance of the present day. I couldn’t tell you a single nun who is teaching who is not a fully qualified teacher.”

Mr Hunt later sought to clarify his remarks on Twitter. “On BBC QT I was trying to make a generalised point about the use of unqualified teachers in schools,” he wrote. “I obviously meant no offence to nuns.”

Mr Hunt’s remarks drew heavy criticism on social media on Thursday night and from a number of Conservative politicians.


Pic: BBC





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