With regard to the partnerships between sectors, my response to the Government consultation has expressed my wish that governors, heads and schools be allowed to continue to do what is best for our particular communities. Both sectors need to engage with projects voluntarily; the key issue to partnerships.
Schools Week’s Laura McInerney suggests we follow India’s lead (The Guardian
, Sunday 11 December, here
) and make ‘all private schools … take 25% of pupils from among the poorest families … at random. No ability tests, no catchments areas. Admission by lottery’ in order to share more equally share our social responsibility. I have to say, I’m not entirely averse to the idea, but not right now, not while we are all duty bound to jump through league table hoops to prove our merit. Scrap them, measure our worth by what we add, and I’m in.
With regard to the news that the government could well be considering supporting families who are just managing, I remain a keen supporter. All four of the schools with which I have been engaged in my career have engaged with young people from deprived areas. I’m very proud to have been associated with them and these projects.
With regard to grammar school expansion, I don’t think we should expand. There are enough well functioning grammars already - let’s build, let’s move forward, let’s look at other ways of encouraging social mobility. Growing up in a grammar school catchment, I saw academically weaker children consigned to a rubbish heap, being given no hope. Nostalgia is not the answer. Why spend so much on academies and free schools only to renege and time hop?
Finally, there’s a solution to the government’s ping-pong yo-yo response to education which I’ve been suggesting for some time: We need a sort of education cabinet office, an impartial body, or responsible teaching college that drives non-political child centred policies forward in spite of whomsoever is in charge, which would save 'Education’ from being just another bargaining tool during electoral campaigns. Surely we owe children that much?