Skip to main content

Beware UKIP education policies

Imagine a National Health Service that had selection criteria on the basis  'we will only treat certain people we regard as worth saving'.  Now imagine a state school system based on the premise that only advantaged children will go to the 'good' schools.  Now take a look at this statement:

'Existing schools will be allowed to apply to become grammar schools and select according to ability and aptitude. Selection ages will be flexible and determined by the school in consultation with the local authority.'

The result of such a strategy would be to entrench a two tier system in our state schools. The 'good' schools will select on 'academic ability'. We have of course been here before in the old system of  Grammar and Secondary Modern Schools. Some might argue that it is as good idea because it ensures a good education for the brightest pupils. It will condemn those deemed less academically gifted to second rate schools.

You will note that the policy as stated doesn't say 'we will ensure that ALL pupils have the opportunity for education at the highest standards. It simply wants to restore the old system. It does say that selection ages will be flexible. But does anyone doubt that most selection will take place at 11? Of course it will, because that is the age at which most pupils move to secondary education.

It is extraordinarily silly to take a day in the life of a child at aged 11 and on that date determine their 'aptitude'.  Children develop at different rates not just in intellectual ability and understanding but in maturity. That is what was so wrong-headed about selection at 11.

New statistics released by Buckinghamshire Grammar Schools, the body which represents the county’s 13 selective schools is very instructive. It shows that only 16% of children from Aylesbury Vale – Bucks’ poorest district – passed the test, compared to 37% in the Chilterns – the county’s richest. There was a 64% pass rate for children in private education and only 4% for children on free school meals. Do we really think this reflects their true learning potential? Or do we suppose it reflects a pre-existing social and economic advantage?  I know which of these is likely to be the answer.

To push for Grammar Schools and selection on grounds of 'ability' will simply entrench  inequality of opportunities. It entrenches unfairness which affects the life chances of a generation.

So whose policy does this article give. You might assume it gives the Conservative Party policy. It doesn't. It gives UKIPs policy on secondary education.

It is often difficult to pin UKIP down on policy details. This one however is entrenched on the UKIP website under the heading 'What a UKIP government will do.'

UKIP will entrench the unfairness that exists in educational opportunities for our children and thus their life chances.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Ian Duncan-Smith says he wants to make those on benefits 'better people'!

By any account, the government's austerity strategy is utilitarian. It justifies its approach by the presumed potential ends. It's objective is to cut the deficit, but it has also adopted another objective which is specifically targeted. It seeks to drive people off benefits and 'back to work'.  The two together are toxic to the poorest in society. Those least able to cope are the most affected by the cuts in benefits and the loss of services. It is the coupling of these two strategic aims that make their policies ethically questionable. For, by combining the two, slashing the value of benefits to make budget savings while also changing the benefits system, the highest burden falls on a specific group, those dependent on benefits. For the greater good of the majority, a minority group, those on benefits, are being sacrificed; sacrificed on the altar of austerity. And they are being sacrificed in part so that others may be spared. Utilitarian ethics considers the ba

Mr Duncan-Smith offers a disingenuous and divisive comparison

Some time ago, actually it was a long time ago when I was in my early teens, someone close to me bought a table. It was an early flat pack variety. It came with a top and four legs. He followed the instructions to the letter screwing the legs into the top. But when he had completed it the table wobbled. One leg he explained was shorter than the other three; so he sawed a bit from each of the other legs. The table wobbled. One leg, he explained, was longer than the other three. So, he sawed a bit off. The table wobbled. He went on cutting the legs, but the table continued to wobble. Cut, cut, cut! By this time he had convinced himself there was no alternative to it.  He ended up with a very low table indeed, supported by four very stumpy legs and a bit of cardboard placed under one of them to stop it wobbling on the uneven floor.  Mr Duncan-Smith argues that we need a 1% cap on benefits to be 'fair to average earners'. Average  earners have seen their incomes rise by less tha

His way or none? Why I can't vote for Jeremy

There is an assumption that all would be well with the Labour Party if people hadn't expressed their genuine concern with what they consider the inadequacies of Jeremy Corbyn's leadership. If only, it is said, the Parliamentary Labour Party and his Shadow Cabinet had supported him, instead of undermining him, all would have been fine. If they had been quiet and towed the line, then the party would not have been in the mess it is in. So, should they have stayed silent, or speak of their concerns? There comes a point when the cost of staying silent outweighs the cost of speaking out. This is a judgment. Many call it a coup by the PLP. They paint a picture of a right-wing PLP out of touch with the membership.  This is the narrative of the Corbyn camp. But Jeremy Corbyn, over the decades he has been in politics, showed the way.  It was Jeremy Corbyn who opposed almost all Labour leaders and rarely held back from speaking out, or voting time and again against the party line. As