The title of this link was one of the most famous soundbites from the early years of the ‘New Labour’ Government under Tony Blair. For many years, our once proud schools and universities had been run down by successive Tory and Socialist regimes, and with the 21st century looming action was clearly going to be taken – Or so we were told!
A Turn for the worse
Instead of the vast improvements that were going to be made, the last Government indulged in politically correct tinkering and the imposition of ‘league tables’ that encouraged schools to push children towards subjects that they had a better chance of getting a pass grade in, rather than those that would equip them for the world of work after school.
Primary schools saw increases in class sizes, whilst secondary schools saw increases in exam pass rates despite figures showing that more school leavers were illiterate and innumerate than ever before.
Tony Blair’s grand plan of having fifty percent of school leavers going to university resulted in the increase of ‘vocational courses’, and the dilution of standards that have now degraded the status of a degree.
We also saw the introduction of student top up fees under the Labour Government – Top up fees that the Lib-Dem’s said they would abolish when in opposition, but then colluded with the Conservatives to treble when in power (Although only in England – The Scot’s pay no tuition fees, and the Welsh and Northern Irish have theirs capped)
In a previous post I reported leader of Hillingdon Council Ray Puddifoot’s comments about mass immigration fuelling a massive rise in the need for places in our primary schools. I sent him a letter asking about the school expansions, and how he could square his comments against his own party’s policy on allowing the continuation of the flood of migrants in to our country that he has said is responsible for the issue.
I have yet to receive a reply.
What was even worse was his reported outburst against parents and governors of the schools involved during a council meeting, where he pushed through a vote without taking in to account the feelings and wishes of the people that the policy will affect.
We now have a situation where class sizes will once again increase at primary school level to the detriment of our children in their most crucial years when it comes to learning the basics. They are then packed off to secondary schools that rely on their funding from their position in a ‘league table’, so teachers are encouraged to put children in to subjects they are more likely to pass. My step daughter is in secondary school in the borough, and all I heard when she was selecting her options for GCSE were teachers talking about taking an easier route to a pass grade rather than putting her in to subjects that would lead to a balanced outlook and an improved chance of a career at the end of it.
‘We are all in this together’ crows Prime Minister Cameron, with talk of necessary cuts and ‘The Big Society’ where communities come together to help shoulder the burden. Well, Mr Cameron, if that is the case then can you (Or your local Conservative colleagues, council leader Puddifoot and Uxbridge MP John Randall) answer me the following questions –
Why has central government funding been earmarked for the ‘free schools’ programme, where additional funding can be gained by religious trusts to set up schools independently of the national curriculum? Why should any faith group be given additional funding ahead of other schools in the area when we are ‘all in this together’? In a fair and equal society, all sections of that society should be treated identically when it comes to the education of their children.There should be no bias towards a certain part of the community based on either their religion or their ethnic background – Remember apartheid, anyone?
2 – Justifying the cuts
How can this Tory led council state that we have no money to improve facilities, employ more teachers and cut class sizes when their national leader announced £650 million worth of our money will be given in aid to Pakistan to improve their schools earlier this week! According to the Daily Express, that cash is to train 90,000 teachers, build or refurbish 8000 schools and provide six million text books – How about spending that money, ENGLISH TAXPAYERS MONEY, on our schools and our children?
What can we do about this?
It is time that we all told our elected officials that ‘enough is enough’. Write to your MP, harass your local councillors, let them know that if they don’t listen then they won’t get your vote at the next election.
Locally, our Council leader and cabinet are not elected by the people, so print off and sign the petition form from this site asking for a referendum on an elected executive council leader (Executive Mayor). Such a mayor has powers over local decisisons, and you can remove them at the ballot box so they need to be representing you and your family to keep their job. Such a council leader could not have behaved like Ray Puddifoot did to the Whitehall school parents and governors without paying for it with their political career.
Finally, if they don’t listen, maybe it is time to start thinking about either voting for,joining or helping The English Democrats. Unlike our current leaders, we wouldn’t be spending your money educating the children of Pakistan whilst ignoring yours – We would be PUTTING ENGLAND FIRST!