Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Schools where local is better

I've always found quite repugnant the fact that French schools are so tightly centrally regulated that at any time on any schoolday officials in the Quai d'Orsay know exactly what is being taught across France. In England, at this time of year, the only certainty was that on a Wednesday afternoon bats and pads, stumps and balls would be roused from the sports store and boys would learn the mysteries of this peculiar English religion. Girls, I suppose, went on Byronic walks with poetically inclined mistresses or some-such. Or played tennis. No doubt these days the vulgar striving for GCSEs has put paid to Wednesday afternoons.

Poor Michael Gove, a deeply sincere man, who, as Simon Jenkins points out this morning is attempting to run some 24,000 schools from his Whitehall desk, is at great risk of introducing not the British values that he genuinely supports but the French tyranny of central control. Localism is no universal panacea, and critics will rightly point to the democratic failures both in Tower Hamlets and Birmingham where incomers have brought all the worst characteristics of their own cultures to befoul local governance. But generally, across most of the country, small, local Boards of Education, the employment of parent governors, and school purse strings held by a truly local authority that can exercise probity and oversee stewardship of public funds must surely be the right way. 

7 comments:

Jim said...

Unusually, Raedwald, I can't agree. It doesn't matter how small or large the pyramid is, all it will deliver is unintended consequences. I suspect that the only longterm solution is 'the money follows the pupil'. It is difficult to think that parents would continue to send their children to the Birmingham schools in the news, after the outcomes for the current pupils became apparent.

James Higham said...

Girls, I suppose, went on Byronic walks with poetically inclined mistresses or some-such.

Not the ones my mates and I slipped away with.

Anonymous said...

"It is difficult to think that parents would continue to send their children to the Birmingham schools in the news, after the outcomes for the current pupils became apparent."

Aren't those outcomes just what the parents in these particular localities wanted for their children?

Demetrius said...

It went badly wrong from the time when the leaving age was raised from 14. My Dad always said leave well alone.

Budgie said...

There are two things mixed up here: immigrants and education.

I tend to favour some form of privatised school system with a voucher payed for by taxpayers. The state would merely police the system to ensure it worked according to the democratic mandate. The political interference would thereby be more transparent, and less susceptible to hidden manipulation by your local Marxists.

Unfortunately there has been such a vast influx of immigrants that they can congregate together, ride roughshod over the natives, and effectively takeover the local school. They have no intention of assimilating. They are bolstered in this view by the multiculturists, who hate their own country so much they will promote this form of apartheid.

I am afraid the only solution to that is a freeze on further immigation, throw out immigrant criminals, and require immigrants to adopt British values in the same way that the USA requires their immigrants to become American.

Colonel Shotover said...

My missus recently resigned from a board of governors after finding she was unable to make any mark at all on the caucus of head and chair that ran the school, after expenditure of a great deal of her precious time and energy trying to do so. Governors who are not 'yes men' are not welcome and are ignored.

Anonymous said...

As so often is the case, a compromise is required. There has to be a common core so that children can move from one part of the country to another, and slip in easily at their new school. I have no objection thereafter to a part of the curriculum being devoted to something local, whether or not it is Welsh language and Bardic poetry, learning how to practice FGM with a shard of broken glass, how to deep-fry a Mars bar or how to sing prettily in a choir and service a priest afterwards - or whatever their parents deem fit. The only limits being that the specialist stuff should be taught on a voluntary basis after normal school hours!