Norfolk head teacher calls young adults ‘entitled, spoilt and molly-coddled’ in a blog
PUBLISHED: 08:11 20 February 2018 | UPDATED: 11:54 20 February 2018
A Norfolk head teacher has sparked outrage amongst former pupils after accusing the current generation of young adults of being “spoilt”, “molly-coddled” and “entitled”.
Gresham’s head master Douglas Robb made the remarks in his latest blog on the school’s website, prompted by an interview he carried out in which the interviewee asked: “Why should I come and work for you?”
Mr Robb writes that he is “concerned” by the fact that “some youngsters expect to be given a ‘one-in-a-million’ job, despite being one of millions of applicants.”
He attributes this to a lack of “grit” and that youngsters “look down their noses at” certain jobs and commitment.
He concludes: “I would encourage young people to be grateful for the work opportunities they are given and to throw themselves into each task and take pride in working to the best of their ability.”
Former student of Gresham’s, Rebecca Lawrence, responded in an article on the site Medium. She wrote: “These assertions left me feeling uncomfortable. Negative stereotypes of millennials are two a penny and you don’t have to look far to find them.”
Ms Lawrence attended Gresham’s between 2007 and 2011, before Mr Robb was head teacher, she said: “It’s disheartening for anyone to hear, whether it’s their head teacher or one they’re linked with.
“I feel like he’s in a Gresham’s bubble, maybe children at his school are more privileged and so are more entitled, but he shouldn’t generalise our generation from a few.”
Ms Lawrence, 23, who now works for the civil service in London said: “It was quite personal to me, as growing up I had a lot of jobs in restaurants and cafes to finance unpaid internships.”
The former Itteringham resident added: “I’ve never written a blog before but it didn’t sit right with me that this head teacher, someone who should be a role model, is standing up in front of pupils having said that.”
Mr Robb defended his post, saying: “Generalisation is a necessary part of life if we are to be able to discuss trends that seem to be more prevalent among a particular group of people. We must, of course, always be able to see individuals for who they are, whether they seem to conform to a generalisation or not.
“It is now well documented that employers have noticed a trend where young people seem ill-prepared for the requirements of the working day, despite boasting an impressive academic education and, I believe, it is valuable for educators and governments to be informed about this in order to better prepare or equip young people for work.”
He continued: “We try as a school not to molly coddle our students – for instance we choose to welcome competitive sports fixtures, just as we encourage students to develop the ability to manage their own learning as they mature, and to have their opinions challenged through debating societies and other forums.
“Giving students the opportunities to experience these sorts of tests of spirit and resilience is what we mean when we say that emphasis should be placed on encouraging grit.”
He continued: “I don’t think all students should leave school thinking that their one-in-a-million job is going to present itself straight away; it is probably fewer than one-in-a-million who leave school and immediately find a job that pays the bills and that they would term their dream job.
“It takes hard work and determination for most of us to secure a job in which we are truly satisfied.”