Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Stalingrad Schools

Teachers in a Manchester classroom

It's the way of all commissars. Hero First Class Comrade Balls is following the classic management text All Defeatists And Cowards Will Be Shot. Patsy did exactly the same thing in the NHS (see many previous blogs).

His recipe for sorting out England's failing 638 (20%) state secondary schools? Repel the Nazis or YOU WILL BE SHOT!

What a dismal bankrupt government. Why would anyone want to teach in one of these schools? More specifically, why would anyone want to be the headteacher (the archetypal job from hell - see many blogs, eg here). Pity the poor kids.

Look, one more time.

There is no magic bullet for fixing crap schools. And Whitehall certainly doesn't have one. We surely all know that by now. The only hope is to let the market have a go, just like happens in the infinitely more successful independent schools sector.

Parents with kids in failing schools should be given school vouchers (or whatever spinmeister label we have to give them). They should be able to choose any school. New providers should be encouraged to enter the market, to repond to customers not commissars, and to bring new ideas. Choice and competition should rule. Change and hope should replace this horrific deadlocked war of attrition.

And once we see the benefits, parent everywhere will surely demand the same choice across the entire state sector.


Come on, Gove. You are pointing in the right direction. Last October we heard you say this:

"We will make the changes necessary to give parents meaningful choice, and more control, over where and how their children are taught.

We will tear down the bureaucratic barriers which prevent new schools being built, and remove the administrative obstacles which currently prevent charities, churches, voluntary groups and others from providing the new schools parents want and children need.

From Sweden to New York, it's conservative politicians have ushered in an age of real school choice with hundreds of new schools coming in to the state sector to provide parents with real control over their children's future. We will make sure these schools are open to all, and can open anywhere. And to ensure that our reforms are targeted to help those most in need, we will change the funding rules so that those schools which accept more pupils from disadvantaged background receive more money.

Increasing the number of good school places, offering real choice to parents, giving them control, has helped transform standards and extend opportunity in countries across the globe."

It's a much more compelling vision than the Commissars' blood, blood, and more blood. It's surely time to spell out the detail (see here for brief article by David Green on the Swedish approach to vouchers).

1 comment:

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