Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Educating Labour Rebels

Gordon Brown's timely entry into the education debate is welcome. In an exclusive interview with the Sun he has put his weight behind the reforms in the education white paper. Unhappily, at least in their on-line version, the Sun puts bashing John Prescott higher than praising either of the two Mr Bs. But they quote Mr Brown thus: "We cannot allow schools to tolerate a culture of second best or failure. Reform, reform and reform is our message."

I was intending to draw my faithful readers' attention to William Rees-Mogg's musings in yesterday's Times but time overcame me. It's not often I find myself in agreement with this former editor of that paper and even rarer that I disagree with one of my great political heroes, Neil Kinnock. But yesterday I agreed with the spirit of Rees-Mogg's piece even though some of the detail was tosh. It was headlined "Beware the curse of Kinnock".

Today, as so often, David Aaronovitch, is bang on in his Times article. He's also a fan of Lord Kinnock but is certain he's wrong this time. Addressing the concerns that only middle class children will benefit from the reforms Aaronovitch writes: "The problem is .... that this built-in advantage to the articulate and wealthy is exactly what happens at the moment. Yet the evidence is overwhelmingly that social entrepreneurs are far more interested in solving the problems at the underachieving end of the spectrum than they are in “pandering” to the pushies". Absolutely right - we have selection by postcode and house price at the moment.

Unusually, Polly Toynbee gets it wrong in the Guardian as well. She has to dredge up some LSE research to support her argument, now that's not likely to be remotely biased is it? But a letter writer to the same paper produced a rather fine effort last week imho. After updating readers about the realities of OFSTED, he concluded that "freeing schools also from the often-dead hands of LEAs and dogma-blinded councillors will further free teachers to educate rather than just train their pupils". What a wise and erudite chap that Mr Hughes must be (subject to ratification).


At 19:34, Blogger Aunty Marianne said...

Simon Hughes? Ted Hughes? I wonder who it could have been.


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