Anorak News | Could Do Better

Could Do Better

by | 25th, October 2005

‘AT the risk of losing marks for repetition, we offer you “education, education, education”.

That’s just about the most memorable thing Tony Blair has ever said, it being his clearest statement in an administration cloaked in ambiguity and lawyer speak.

And when Blair came to power in 1997, we expected that he’d be good to his word (delivered in triplicate) and make education his number one, two and three priorities.

Sadly, George Bush, Leo Blair and Tuscany had different plans, and though some work has been done to improve school standards, it is only now that Blair is returning to his original pledge and duly begins to launch his attack on the school system.

Perhaps spurred by his looming departure from No. 10 and keen to be remembered in the history books as something other than a great dad and a decent kind of guy, the Telegraph hears Blair outline plans to “complete the reform” of state education in England.

Looking forward to the release of the education White Paper – what Blair calls “a pivotal moment” in the life of his Government – all state school will become independent, self-governing academies.

As the Telegraph says, parent will be able to change the curriculum, start new schools and depose failing head teachers.

Councils will no longer run schools. Instead they will be managed by Churches, businesses, the wealthy and City livery companies. It’s a break from central control. It’s nothing less than independence.

As the Times hears Blair say: “I want us to lift our ambitions.” He wants us to reach for something better. The Guardian hears Blair accuse leftwing critics of promoting ‘a version of the old levelling-down mentality that kept us in opposition for so long’.

Sounding like the marketing manager for large a corporate, Blair says: “We need to see every local authority moving from provider to commissioner, so that the system acquires a local dynamism responsive to the needs of their communities and open to change and new forms of school provision.”

Chuck in a mention of “blue-sky thinking” and Blair’s pledge ticks lots of boxes on his buzzwords chart.

But at least he’s trying. As the Telegraph’s Alice Thomson says, the comprehensives went for the “lowest common denominator…No-one was allowed to be challenged; no-one could fail.”

And since that’s no good for anyone, it’s all to change.

And as soon as we can work out what the teachers will teach, how the teachers will be trained and how the students will be appraised, things will be fine.

Until then, expect confusion in the classroom, parents unsure of what to do for the best and children wondering when they can use their new phones and eat lunch at the Vodafone-McDonald’s Academy…’

Posted: 25th, October 2005 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink