View all newsletters
Sign up for our free email newsletters

Fighting for quality news media in the digital age.

IPSO raps Telegraph over columnist Iain Duncan Smith’s Covid homeschooling claim

IPSO said it was a "significant" inaccuracy because it was on a "topic of national importance".

By Charlotte Tobitt

A Telegraph column by Conservative MP Iain Duncan Smith referring to children homeschooled since the start of the Covid-19 lockdowns featured a “significant” inaccuracy, press regulator IPSO has ruled.

The former Conservative party leader wrote in March of the children now being schooled at home: “Whilst a number will be receiving a good education, sadly evidence shows that’s not true for the majority.”

IPSO said this was stated as fact but the publication had been unable to provide any evidence to support the claim “nor did it set out what care it had taken not to publish inaccurate information when making this claim”.

It described the inaccuracy as “significant” because it related to the education of children “and in particular the effects of Covid on education – a topic of national importance”.

IPSO said there was a further breach of the Editors’ Code because The Telegraph’s proposed correction, which would have told readers “We did not make clear that this was the writer’s opinion, rather than fact”, did not acknowledge the point in question as an “inaccurate claim of fact”.

Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
  • Business owner/co-owner
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
  • Other C-Suite
  • Managing Director
  • President/Partner
  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
Thank you

Thanks for subscribing.

The regulator also said the newsbrand did not offer a “substantive correction” until two months after it was first made aware of the error.

Content from our partners
New technology from EX.CO helps publishers double on-site video revenue
Five ways to fail in media job interviews
How Germany's Ippen.Media mastered content planning across 86 newsrooms

The newspaper did delete the sentence from the article 11 days after the initial complaint was made and added a footnote which read: “This article has been amended to remove reference to home schooling as it is unrelated to absence.”

The article’s main thrust was about “ghost children”, defined as “severely absent children not at their school desks more than 50 per cent of the time”.

A full correction, as ordered by IPSO, has now been added to the article. It states: “This article previously reported that evidence showed the majority of children schooled at home did not receive a good education. This was inaccurate as there was no available evidence to support the claim.”

Topics in this article : ,

Email pged@pressgazette.co.uk to point out mistakes, provide story tips or send in a letter for publication on our "Letters Page" blog

Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
  • Business owner/co-owner
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
  • Other C-Suite
  • Managing Director
  • President/Partner
  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
Thank you

Thanks for subscribing.

Websites in our network