Educating our children

imagesUJ64W9R5Although Nicky Morgan is now performing a U turn on George Osborne’s policy of forcing all Schools to become Academies, the idea that she will instead force all Local Authorities deemed to be failing in their educational responsibility to turn their Schools into Academies is frankly no better as a policy. The focus of our politicians needs to move away from trying to find a problem to which widespread academisation could be an answer and instead to discover what is needed to educate these children, some of whom have been failed as a result of problems that have existed for decades, impacting not just these children but their parents and in some cases their grandparents. It is clear that the best local Government is capable of achieving all manner of innovation and improve the quality of the lives of those people who live in their area, even when Central Government is in chaos. Equally the worst local Government can prevent all but the most wealthy and socially mobile from thriving during the times of plenty. To have a way of measuring effectiveness and then intervening where things are particularly poor is a perfectly reasonable role for Central Government. However such an approach depends in part on the Government itself being seen to be fairly distributing resources, and having a policy that does not seek to undermine or threaten local authorities that have a particular political identity. I have lived in the ‘wealthy’ South East for nearly 40 years. I previously lived in the North West only a few miles from some of the poorest parts of Merseyside. It is clear to me that Governments of both Labour and Conservative parties (including coalitions) make funding decisions on a basis that appears partisan and based on an inability (or unwillingness) of Civil Servants and Ministers to drill down into the detail of communities to fully understand the true situation on the ground. By the same token local MPs can on occasions lobby for their own area even when this reinforces damaging national inequalities to the cost of other people with clear needs. Although education is not just a matter of resources we do need to ensure that educational decisions are taken in a way that is not a matter of political bias or motivation and focuses on the best education we can provide for all of our children. It is clear that Political Parties will favour different ways of achieving overiding objectives, however to ‘reward’ children in areas that are dominated by one party and ‘punish’ those in areas that are not, needs to be exposed for the evil it really is. Long before people like Nicky Morgan look for reasons to increase the number of academies in areas that are seen to be failing, she and her officials need to be focusing on why these areas are failing and what is needed to reverse this. By the same token the local Councils and other leaders need to be carrying out the same sort of analysis. This is not a problem created by one party. In Liverpool, the city has just re-elected a man as Mayor who previously took a local School to Court for not paying him for mentoring work he simply did not carry out. In many ways if there were no Political Parties with their dominance in certain areas, this issue could be reduced to how best to educate our children.

About ianchisnall

I am passionate about the need for public policies to be made accessible to everyone, especially those who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am particularly interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as health services and strategic planning.
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