Education but not as we want it

educationThere is a crisis in education occuring in Schools across the UK. Today I have written about it in our local paper, The Argus: Every generation faces challenges when it comes to education. As a child of the 60’s I recall the day when the first computer arrived at the Junior School I attended. It sat quietly in the corner of the final year class because no one knew how to use it, although it looked a bit like the teleprinter which my Dad used every day at work. Its arrival had been heralded 4 years earlier by Harold Wilson speaking about the White Heat of Technology but the white heat felt more like a luke warm glow. Thirty years later Tony Blair stated “nothing matters more to the future prosperity of the country than education” and many people including myself were inspired by this to vote Labour. However my children were less impressed when the implication of his speech led to the reduction of their playtime so they could focus on literacy and numeracy programmes. I have no idea how well that policy went down with the teachers but I suspect they too were unhappy to have their working day extended to accommodate additional teaching time. Some of what Labour introduced as part of their focus on education was excellent and continues to reap dividends; inevitably some was less positive. It is now twenty years since the speech by Blair and 50 years since a solitary computer arrived in each Junior school on Merseyside and once again there is a challenge being faced in our Schools and PreSchools. It is not the introduction of new technology although since 1967 technology has continued to advance at a pace which has been a challenge for some teachers and has added to the budgetary pressure on Schools. It is not about the lengthening of the school day to encompass a back to basics approach although the coalition Government certainly made demands on what is taught in our Schools. What we are now facing is arguably a destruction of the foundations of our education system as across Sussex, Schools are being forced to ask parents to fund raise, not for things that are nice to have or foreign trips but to pay the wages of teachers, while the Government is setting aside substantial sums of public money for new Grammar Schools and Free Schools to be built, almost as if they will distract us from the destruction of the education system. In the week in which we announce our departure from Europe in an economic sense, it would be reasonable to expect the Government to have a smart plan to invest in our education system, as we cut ourselves off from access to people with learning and skills that has strengthened our economy. Rather than this the Government is in effect ripping up the floor boards of our Schools so we can light a fire to keep warm from the cold wind that is about to blow in from the rest of the world. When Theresa May became Prime Minister she spoke about putting ordinary people in control, and reforming schools. Nearly a year later we are faced with deformed schools and ordinary people being expected to club together to employ teachers. That is not the sort of control we were promised or need, instead the Government must reverse its decisions on School funding and do it now. Across Sussex 14 MPs are Conservatives, some have already spoken up about the pressure on Schools in Parliament. If nothing changes very quickly they need to consider a vote of no confidence in their Government before education falls apart around us.


About ianchisnall

I have a passion to see public policy made accessible everyone who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as in policies on health services and strategic planning.
This entry was posted in Education, Parliament and Democracy, Youth Issues and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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