May 20, 2007

Cameron on Education

In view of what I think that David Cameron is really up to I'm going to have a look at David Cameron's article on education to see if it fits with my analysis of what he is up to. All the emphasis is mine.

First, we will introduce a policy of zero tolerance of bad behaviour and bad language in every school in the country. This is not something that requires central imposition: in fact it is centralisation that today stands in the way of the right approach. As I found from my two days teaching at a secondary school in Hull last week, teachers are in despair at their inability to impose discipline. We will make sure that in every school, the headteacher is the absolute captain of the ship. He or she will be able to maintain discipline and exclude poorly behaving pupils without being second-guessed or penalised for doing it.

There it is anti-centralisation, giving power back from government to the people that are actually in a position to weild it correctly. The centralised overbearing state is the problem and the solution is to get rid of it.

Second, we will take the keys to educational success - often found in private and grammar schools - and apply them everywhere, in every school. Today, because of the way that league tables and inspections work, there is far too much teaching to the test and teaching to get children from D to C instead of stretching the brightest to get A and A star. That's why we will reform the curriculum, exams and testing, and that's why we want to see aggressive setting by ability - in effect, a 'grammar stream' in every subject, in every school.

Hear that D.K.? Looks like he has been reading your blog.

Third, we need to create more good school places rather than argue abut how to divide up the ones we have. The fact is, we don't have enough and we need more. How do we do it? Not by dividing existing schools up into a thousand grammar schools and two thousand secondary moderns, but by a massive liberalisation of the supply-side of education, with open enrolment and money following the pupil.

Looks like he is suggesting to allow parents to try and get their children into whichever school they think suits their needs best, whereever it may be. Nolonger will people be trapped into having to send their children to the local sink comprehensive just because it is local. They will be able to send them anywhere with the funding following the pupils, allowing good school to expand and forcing bad ones to reform. This is better than pledging to build more grammar schools, this is pledging to set up a framework by which parents will be able to find whatever type of school best suits their childrens needs, be it a grammar school, sec. modern, comprehensive, Steiner School, or whatever and send them to it without having to worry to much about the costs.

We need more 'independent state schools.' City Academies - themselves the diluted successor of the City Technology Colleges set up by the last Conservative government - offer a structure which can be usefully developed. We will go further, by radically dismantling the barriers to entry so that small organisations can gain the capital funding and revenues to establish and run schools. City Academies should not require a millionaire to make the initial investment. They should not have to undergo the restrictive inspection and regulatory regime which stifles the creativity of heads and teachers.

And we will make it easier for anyone to set up a school. Any individual, company, charity, church, community group, teacher or parent co-operative who wants to set up and run a school - providing they meet certain minimal standards - will be able to, without requiring permission from an LEA. That's the way countries like Sweden and Holland have transformed their education systems, and that's what we will do here.

Get rid of the money leaching LEAs! Get the state out of deciding what systems to try! Let teachers and people that actually work with kids, and so have a clue what they are doing, open their own schools based on their own experience! Even more types of school, and even easier to create new types with different methods to see if they work! Those mimimum standards might end up covering rather more than I would like but Damn it David, I wanted to eviscerate you not publicly fellate you. Oh well, sluuuuurrrrp.


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