Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Nice schools for nice children from nice families

Most Liberals will agree with Simon Jenkins' column in today's Guardian - Labour MPs will be voting for an old Tory education bill.

We have to be a little careful here. I am by no means a supporter of the Liberals against choice line. Indeed when Phil Willis proposed the "Quality for all, not choice for the few" policy at conference in 2004, I was the only speaker to suggest that we should drop the hostile references to choice. A good dozen or so of the 200 plus delegates present voted with me on that one!

But the current bill is a deliberate subliminal appeal to snobbery, whatever attempts are made to say it is not about selection. While parental choice is a good thing, it is not a panacea. And it cannot be absolute when education is free at the point of use. So this bill will achieve nothing to improve educational performance, particularly for children from underachieving or disadvantaged social groups. Its message is nice schools for nice children from nice families and never mind the rest.

1 comment:

Tristan said...

I have never understood this hostility to choice.
Surely a real choice is a good thing?
The problem is the 'choices' offered by government are not real choices, they are engineered choices between sanctioned alternatives, or choice for only certain groups.