Filed under: Education and the new government | Tags: Academies, community cohesion, David Cameron, Ed Balls, Fabian Society, Free Schools, labour leadership, local secondary schools, Michael Gove, Pupil Premium, Rosa Prince, social cohesion, social deprivation, social inclusion, Special Educational Needs, The Guardian
I agree totally with this article, and for me, Cameron’s response to the idea of sending his children to a local comprehensive school said it all. Not only that, there was recently a move by the Telegraph in it’s article by Rosa Prince ‘Sharp rise in number of special needs pupils’ to link low achievement in children with bad behaviour rather than any special educational need they might have. She speculates that these badly behaved children are being over labelled with an SEN in order to enable their schools to improve their standing in the league tables, and parents to cherry pick the best schools! See Rosa Prince’s article.
Children from poorer families are umuch less likely to have parents with the time and energy and confidence to get involved with a Free School, and will be left on the sidelines with the ‘undesirable schools’. Not only that, there is no ring fencing of the pupil premium and it looks increasingly likely that this money might not actually reach the children for whom it is intended. Unfortunately, if state schools under local authority control have to compete with free schools and academies for funding these schools will be much less able to improve. Their funding will be reduced because they will have to share it with any new academies or free schools that might have been set up in their area.
I still haven’t figured out why the government can’t simply put this vast amount of money into improving the schools we already have, for the benefit of all children.
I always try not to be too political. So here’s a comment to try to balance things up. With the honourable exception of Ed Balls we haven’t heard much about Education from the other four Labour leadership contenders. Of course, the economy dominates the headlines but here’s a challenge: rather than concentrate on what mistakes have or have not been made in running the economy, lets deal with the future of our country. Education is fundamental to all of our futures and I believe that equipping ALL of OUR children with the skills and abilities to be successful and economically/financially independent to their full potential is vital. Schools are also the nursery for successful social cohesion and any educational system which is not based on equality of opportunity is simply storing up social problems for the future.