Anorak News | Pass Marks

Pass Marks

by | 16th, March 2006

‘HANDS up who understands how the education system works. Come on, show yourselves – answers count towards a GCSE in Government education policy.

‘Do you know you’re finished?’ ‘You humm it and I’ll try to pick it up’

Long gone are the days when pupils went to the local school, and the richer, smarter, more academically ambitious ones tapped into trust funds and scholarship schemes to go to independent schools. Now there is choice.

Problem is, few parents, and we imagine, fewer pupils, know what the choices really are. The only certainty is that you go into the system aged five and emerge aged 18 equipped with all the tools to stay on it the system indefinitely, join the Armed Forces or sign on the dole. The lucky few become professional footballers and return to their old schools as heroes.

But things are to change. As the Independent reports, Tony Blair wants us to adhere to his new Education and Inspection Bill, which champions something called “independent trust schools”.

It’s a Bill full of what the Times’s leader calls “hypotheticals and hyperbole”. It is essential new Labour stuff.

And yesterday, when the Bill was presented to the Commons for voting, it was passed. Just. The Indy say that 52 Labour MPs voted against the Education Bill but Tory support ensured it passed a second reading by 458 votes to 115. (Labour enjoys working majority of 69 MPs.)

The Government might have won the day, but Tony could be one step closer to the exit door. As the Guardian reminds us, Stephen Byers said Blair’s position would be “untenable” if he had to rely on Tory votes to win the measure.

And he did. Although the Guardian seems confused about how many votes Blair needed. While the Indy spots 52 of what journalist Michael White calls Labour’s “three disses” group – the dissidents, the dismissed and the disaffected – and more voting against the Government, the Guardian’s leader spots a “51-strong Labour rebellion”.

But Patrick Wintour, the Guardian’s political editor, gathers in the voting slips and counts “a total of 52 Labour MPs” turning against Tony.

It’s hard to know what to make of the statistics. And while the hacks struggle with the maths, the result is unaltered. The Bill has been passed. The Government have a new education policy to confuse parents, teachers and pupils with.

And Tony has a new way forward – and it’s marked “exit”.’

Posted: 16th, March 2006 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink