Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Parents should be banned from buying into the best schools

I'm cynical enough to think that it can't just be coincidence that a few days after the Swedish PM Fredrik Reinfeldt's visit to London and his cosy chat with the Labour PM Gordon Brown that the Chief Schools Adjudicator dropped this bombshell on the UK. Thus wanting to apply more of the Swedish approach to British schooling, in other words, children should go to their local state school - just as it is for the overwhelming majority of Swedish children.
The irony is that when I went to school in the 60s and 70s in London that was the case, the vast majority of children did go to their local state school.

One point that the report didn't make though, and it is worth making, is that boarding schools and private fee-funded schools don't necessarily always provide children with a better education! A better environment perhaps, with more choices and options. And certainly more status for them and their aspiring middle class parents, but not always a better education!

And while I agree with the proposal, it is too little too late from a Labour government that should have implemented this kind of ban back in '97 when it came into power. But who are we kidding, the UK has a long tradition of the middle and upper classes sending their children to "better" schools. So a proposal on a ban like this, while socially democratic and sound in theory, isn't in my opinion going to have much affect on parents or on the schools that are run down and neglected.


Reported in the Dail Mail on 29th February - follow the link for the full story. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=523211&in_page_id=1770

Meanwhile, here is the main point of the proposal:

"Parents should be banned from buying into the best schools, says watchdog.

Middle-class parents should be barred from "buying" their way into the catchment areas of good schools and make do with sink schools instead, the admissions watchdog said yesterday. Chief Schools Adjudicator Philip Hunter said a proportion of middle-class families should be forced to send their children to less popular schools to make way for disadvantaged pupils. "

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