Its easy to read speeches as one piece of text with an overall message and miss some of the finer details. This would be a mistake in the case of the Queens speech. As I wrote yesterday every word was worked on by a team of people, sadly as far as yesterdays focus is concerned they failed completely to write a section that reached out to society when it came to the European Union and our negotiations to leave. This mornings section in my view is probably one of the most important paragraphs in the whole speech. It could be read as an explanation for the exclusion of Grammar Schools in the speech, despite their inclusion in the Tory manifesto. The section in the speech is as follows:
“My government will continue to work to ensure that every child has the opportunity to attend a good school and that all schools are fairly funded. My ministers will work to ensure people have the skills they need for the high-skilled, high-wage jobs of the future, including through a major reform of technical education.”
The need for fair funding for Schools is something that many of us have been calling for over the last 7 years of Tory Government as they have sought to invest in Free Schools and Grammar Schools, in a range of Academies in a way that has had a detrimental impact on many Schools that are suffering as a result. Clearly fairness needs an arbiter and that also needs a bit more clarity. Funding Schools fairly could mean a sum of money to every school irrespective of numbers of pupils, irrespective of their ages and irrespective of their social needs. The question must be who will arbitrate fairness and on what basis. However these words are very welcome, assuming there is no hidden meaning. They have the potential to role back many of the inconsistencies created over the last 7 years.
The text around skills is a lot more uncertain. We all know that jobs of all skill levels are important, and that some of our most skilled jobs, are currently offering medium to low wages. Nursing is an easy one to focus on, it is not low pay relative to the living wage, although many of the support work carried out alongside nursing is on the living wage. However both are low wages when compared to MPs or Company Directors. I have no desire to diminsh the work of an MP but many of our current cohort lack fundemental skills in many areas. The same is true of many Company Directors in many industries. If we are to have a focus on skills and high paid work, then perhaps it is time to re-evaluate such work based on what matters most to those of us who need the services, not on what has been judged acceptable in the years and decades that have passed by.