Our Children’s Education, We all Know Best!
Posted on October 19, 2016
There was a huge debate on the radio yesterday about the British education system which, as many of you will have experienced, is a great way to fall out with friends and family with regards to what is best for our children.
I will state straight away that if we are to create the fair society that various governments claim they are clamouring for, then every child born in the UK should be offered the same education, free at the point of delivery, to a school that is within 10 miles of their home.
That way, the cream, in the fairest of circumstances, rises to the top and goes on to a college then university and everyone lives happily ever after.
Unfortunately, humans don’t work like that and when the merest sniff of a ‘better’ school or the finances to a privately education come available, fairness is the last thing on the mind of many parents who believe that their child might be a little bit better than others; it’s instinctive, we are all capable of it, some just deny it.
There is of course, a certain amount of snobbery attached to sending your children into fee paying schools, but no more than moving house so your child can, allegedly, get a marginally better education just over the boundary into another area.
A change of headmaster can alter a school overnight (my children’s school went from great to not so great within a year) so it really is a load of old nonsense believing that moving areas for the sake of a negligible amount of educational superiority will rescue your child from the abyss. It won’t.
Despite my idealist view above, you have to be a realist and accept that the children of bankers, footballers, rock stars and the aristocracy, are always going to be put in private education for the sake of privacy if nothing else. However, that doesn’t half leave us beholden to people who may be utterly useless…what for example, has any member of the Royal Family achieved in terms of science or mathematics that has made the world a better place, despite their wonderful education?
Maybe there should be a selection of schools called ‘Her Lady’s School of Fuckwittery Born into Money” for those who, by circumstance and no fault of their own, have been born into enormous wealth, are utterly dim, but would not be able to cope with the public scrutiny of a state school. Some of you might say “There is such a school, it is called Eton” but that may be a little harsh.
I can understand why parents would want to chop and change school areas or scrape together enough money to go to a fee paying school but it doesn’t guarantee you anything and in some circumstances it can create your worst nightmares with regards to child abuse or bullying.
Imagine scraping enough money together to get your child in the £30k per annum Wellington College, only to discover that the maths teacher had expertly carried out a 20 year campaign of ‘grave abuse’ that led to an 11 year jail sentence!
My son’s cricket team played at Wellington College once and remarkably, not only did they win on the pristine pitch, they also boasted a free education without sexual trauma…so against the odds they were twice the winners despite the handicap of humble income and facilities?
I know people who went to private school and got bullied to the point of a breakdown; with teachers claiming it toughened them up for the real world where they could become hedge fund managers with psychopathic disorders and little if no human empathy. I also know people who went to private school and have offered free coaching and facilities to local cricketers of any colour or creed, so I am not going to play the socialist card to an unrealistic degree.
What I do think is that grammar schools and religious schools should be long gone; we are in 2016 not the period of enlightenment and by segregating kids at 11 or in some sort educational form of religious apartheid is a hopeless form of progression. I know I am a practising atheist, but school is for learning important things like maths, the sciences and English, not, an at best, dubious perception of our creation taught by one faith, whether it be Catholic, Jewish, Muslim or Hindu.
I have no problem with any religion and anyone who wants to follow and practice it, but to have a school that is teaching the rules by the order of a singular faith cannot, in my mind, be a sensible route to the multi-cultural harmony the majority of us crave. If you are going to have religion on the curriculum for historical and cultural purposes, teach them all, with an option to opt out in the final two years.
It is not only atheists who believe this, Rabbi Romain, a writer and broadcaster based at the Maidenhead Synagogue, is an active campaigner for community non-faith schools, stating yesterday that he had always wanted his children to learn and mix with all religious sectors in one education unit to make the world a more harmonious place.
I can’t think of a more sensible argument than that…non-religious community schools free at the point of delivery for everyone, then the real stuff for the bright ones can start at college and university, which should also be free…it is after all, future national prosperity at stake.
It will happen one day and out of nowhere, the world will be a better place, without those tense discussions about education with your friends.
Love you all.