21,000 copies of the King James Bible have been sent out, one to every state school in the country. The £370,000 cost was raised by private donations. Even those with no interest in religion can scarcely deny the literary significance of this book.
The Education Secretary, Michael Gove, spoke on The World at One yesterday about the hundreds of letters of appreciation the Department of Education has received. Gove said it would be "fantastic" if philanthropists funded other "great books" to be sent to schools.
But Peter Elliot, the Headmaster of the bog standard East Bridgwater Community School in Somerset writes to the Times Educational Supplement to show his sneering ingratitude:
Dear Mr Gove,
Thank you for taking the trouble to send me a copy of the King James Bible ("What should you do with the King James Bible from Michael Gove?", 18 May). I appreciate you spending this considerable sum of money on distributing these weighty tomes across the country. In lieu of the capital monies that our school requires, I have placed this book under the corner of our main block to stop it listing any further. I see this as a highly cost-effective solution to scrapping the Building Schools for the Future programme.
If you are looking for further inspired ideas about how to spend money wisely, we are in desperate need of a series of umbrellas to place on the flat roof to stop the rain coming in – maybe you could have your face printed on them so the pupils would know who had been so generous.
Peter Elliott, Headteacher, East Bridgwater Community School, Somerset.
He seems to have rather missed the fact, which has been widely reported, that no taxpayers' money was spent on sending out the book. Is he really so ignorant about the matter he has chosen to write about? Or is he seeking to deliberately mislead? Either way, if I lived in Bridgwater I wouldn't want my children to go to his school – not because of the deficiencies of the building, but the deficiency of imagination and leadership.
The sooner a free school is set up in Bridgwater to give parents a choice, the better.
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.