Three items cropped up recently on the subject of schools;
Firstly THIS ARTICLE in the DT stating that middle-class families are being priced out of private schools. Grammar schools are now not for the intellectually elite but for the financially elite, leaving the rest of those bright students from middle and working class families with high potential, unfulfilled and unable to reach their full academic potential.
This is precisely why UKIP believes that there should be a grammar school in every town, to drive down prices and so that all the brightest students can achieve their full potential.
Incidentally, there’s another DT article claiming that Prince Charles is also in favour.
On a related matter, I had a chat with a fellow UKIP member who is home-schooling his child. He was concerned that the EU may be looking to halt this practise right across Europe. He told me;Homeschooling is not as popular in the UK as it is in the US, but it is much more popular here than in Europe. Education Otherwise, a charity focusing on helping parents who are homeschooling their children, was estimating at least 20 thousand families in UK are homeschooling, some sources saying it could be 40 thousand. Last time I checked was a few years ago, so it might be higher now as the trend is up. In Germany and a few other EU countries homeschooling your own children is a criminal offence, others have very restrictive regulations, in case of Poland for example you have to follow compulsory state curriculum, even if in theory homeschooling is legal. In September 2006, the European Court of Human Rights upheld the German ban on homeschooling, stating “parents may not refuse… [compulsory schooling] on the basis of their convictions”, and adding that the right to education “calls for regulation by the State”. The European Court took the position that the plaintiffs were the children, not their parents, and declared “children are unable to foresee the consequences of their parents’ decision for home education because of their young age…. Schools represent society, and it is in the children’s interest to become part of that society. The parents’ right to educate does not go as far as to deprive their children of that experience.”
One to watch out for in the future?
Finally, from The Observer, a story about the potential new Chair of Ofsted.A multimillionaire Tory donor is being lined up by Michael Gove to chair the body charged with maintaining and raising standards in England’s schools. David Ross, a co-founder of the Carphone Warehouse high street chain, is believed to be the front runner for the post after the Education Secretary in effect sacked the previous incumbent, Baroness Morgan. But the move will be deeply controversial because, as well as being a Tory donor, Mr Ross is the founder of a chain of 25 academies – for which Ofsted, the education standards watchdog, has responsibility. “What will happen when inspectors are sent into his own schools?” one teachers’ leader asked. Any attempt to appoint Mr Ross would ignite a fierce row within the Coalition as Mr Gove’s deputy, the Liberal Democrat schools minister David Laws, has made it clear he expects the appointment to be non-political. Mr Ross, who has given the Conservative Party around £220,000, belongs to an elite diners’ club whose members get frequent access to David Cameron in exchange for donating more than £50,000 a year. His appointment to an independent quango would raise further questions about the party’s ties to wealthy individuals, following the revelation that the wife of a Russian banker paid £160,000 to play tennis with Mr Cameron and Boris Johnson at the party’s summer fundraising ball on Wednesday. Baroness Morgan was widely considered to have proved an impartial executive despite having run Tony Blair’s office when he was Prime Minister. “Sally Morgan has been able to rise above party politics and command cross-party support – it’s crucial the next person is able to do the same,” a Liberal Democrat source said. Mr Laws indicated that he believed the decision not to re-appoint Baroness Morgan was a sign that the Ofsted inspectorate, which is officially independent of government control, was being damaged by political interference.
Another one to watch, but this would leave a really sour taste in the mouth were it to come true.