Monday, January 08, 2007

Mother Kelly's doorstep

So staunch Blairite and New Labour luvvie Ruth Kelly has decided to send her child to a private school. Let's be honest, she is only doing what the majority of parents would do if they could afford to - and an increasing number of parents are doing just that.

I don't really mind that she does this - or that other high profile lefties have done the same - after all they are parents and like any other parent they want to do the best they can for their kids. That's natural and laudable.

What really bothers me though is that they continue to pretend that the state school system is working and getting better. They know damn well that it isn't and it's about time all those who persist in promoting this deliberate falsehood came clean.

The experiment with comprehensive schooling has been a complete and unmitigated disaster. Standards have fallen so rapidly and so far that it requires massive amounts of money and an army of officials just to hide the reality from the public - because that is all they are dong by massaging grades and statistics to present a facade of success on a crumbling education system.

I'm sure some people will point out that there are good comprehensive schools. Indeed there are, but these tend to be the exception rather than the rule and they tend to be successful because of where they are rather than because of what they are. In other words, good comprehensive schools tend to exist in better off areas and it's a case of people moving to those areas to get their child into that school - a form of selection or "fee-paying" in itself.

Most of us, though, don't have that option. Our kids will go to the nearest "bog standard" comprehensive and - unless you live in one of those areas that retains the 11+ and grammar schools or you are fortunate to already live in one of those "desirable" catchment areas - that school will almost certainly be rather poor.

For me, Ruth Kelly's decision is an implicit admission that the socialist dream of comprehensive education was misplaced and misguided and has been an utter catastrophe for Britain. I just wish they'd admit it rather than keep trying to kid us all.

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