Education and the great lie

 

In the words of Mulder and Scully from TV’s X-Files, ‘The truth is out there’ – Just don’t expect it from politicians of the three main parties any time soon, especially where education is concerned.

 

In opposition, Deputy Prime Minister and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg was adamant that university top up fees were wrong, and that if he ever got in to power, they would be abolished. You can see in the picture below that he was supporting student groups who were against this tax on education.

Fast forward a year, and the improbable idea of a LibDem leader having any say in government policy has been replaced by their first spell in government since 1922 – An ideal chance to put in to practice all those things that he was so passionate about in opposition.

The Great U-Turn

Unfortunately, now he has his hands on the rudders of power, Nick Clegg has gone to the other extreme. Rather than abolishing student top up fees, the government that he is a major part of is increasing the amount that students will have to get themselves in to debt by in order to finish their education!

The Two Tier Education system

Well, maybe I am not giving the man enough credit. There is one place that a student doesn’t have to pay for their education in top up fees – Scotland. The Scottish parliament at Holyrood gets to make the decisions regarding education in their country, and they have decided (Quite rightly, in my opinion) that those who wish to advance their education and get a degree should not have to pay for it – After all, if you have a degree in engineering as an example, and you are earning a salary in excess of £60k per year, then the amount of revenue you will generate for your country both in tax take and contributing to industry will more than pay for your education in just a few short years.

Time to move for Scotland for the sake of my kids?

 

Well, no actually. If you are English and move to Scotland, you are not entitled to this particular benefit of devolution. The Scottish Parliament are not stupid, and have closed that particular loophole that would potentially drain their country’s finances.

 Maybe the MP for Sheffield, a certain Mr N Clegg, could learn from the eminently more community focused MP’s at Holyrood, and honour his pledge made before the election. It is time to level the playing field on education between England and Scotland.

What do you think? Should a student education be free to all who qualify by their school grades?

Education – Our children’s futures being betrayed

So the parlous state of our local schools is now out in the open. Due to a massive increase in young children, 5  schools will have to be expanded to make room for a massive influx in infant and junior school pupils – Brookside, Cranford Park and Grange Park in Hayes, Whitehall in Uxbridge and William Byrd in Harlington.

Being guardian to two teenage stepchildren and having seen their trials and tribulations negotiating the state school system, the education system is an area that both inspires and frustrates me in equal measure.

Teachers are increasingly trying to do their jobs in an atmosphere of political correctness and a pressure to ensure that exam results reflect well on their school, leading to a tendency to teach children to pass the said exams rather than giving them a good, well rounded knowledge of the subject.

People of my age remember the great teachers who made the subjects come alive for us, rather than the actual school buildings that we inhabited during the week – For me, they are the likes of Mrs Fox the English teacher , Dave Knights the geography master and Mr Harling the PE teacher. My wife is dyslexic, but now enjoys many a good book thanks to the help and persistence of Mrs Rundell at Bishopshalt. Due to the pressures upon them, modern teachers seem not to have the freedom to indulge a child to make the best of their talents, and now will have to deal with even larger classes, leading to less personal attention and more mediocrity.

John McDonnell, MP for Hayes and Harlington, recently commented in the local press that he was disgusted with the local authority and their refusal to spend more money on upgrading school buildings. I can partially see where he is coming from, as this expansion is now upon us, but what we really need are more and better teachers freed from the shackles of bureaucracy to educate our children to a level that they deserve – More importantly, educating them as we were educated, with a passion for the subject and a style of teaching that helped us to enjoy what we were doing.

These school expansions will not help the pupils to achieve their potential, and have many parents worried about the impact on their education, but what is the solution?

Our schools can only handle so many new pupils, and the national policy of uncontrolled mass immigration has landed a massive increase of youngsters at our school doors without the means to cope with them. This benefits neither the indigenous population, or the immigrants, as in larger classes neither will receive the education that will equip them to deal with life after school. The national government have dictated the policy, and the local goverment have to live with the consequences, which will no doubt be either an increase in local taxation, a cut back in education spending, or both. Ultimately, it is our children that will suffer.

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