Because you’re – all – worth it…

Read my latest post on the Local Schools Network – and then sign up and support us.

A very interesting piece by Danny Dorling in today’s Guardian Education about a speaking tour he undertook around the country, just before the Comprehensive Spending Review, in which he visited a range of schools, including a local comprehensive, an F E college, a selective grammar and a public school – to talk about economic divisions and how where you are born still determines where you will end up in life.

Interestingly, the more selective the school the less realistic Dorling found the students’ grasp of economic reality and division, and the more faith placed by the student in ( their own) ’hard work’ as the means to get somewhere in life; in other words, students benefitting from a more affluent upbringing or privileged education are the ones failing to understand the place of geographical or social class or educational hierarchies, yet they are the ones most likely to succeed. ( For a perfect example of this, look no further for the mismatch between the economic and educational background of the Coalition leaders and the horrendous implications of the CSR)

Dorling also quotes Nelson Mandela from a speech the great man made in 1994 in which Mandela apparently argued that every child should have the same amount spent on their education and that this was a cause he was ‘prepared to die for’.

As Mandela has already championed several world changing causes at risk to his own life, perhaps this is one that we at the Local Schools Network should now take up, namely that the political classes find the means to equalise annual school funding across the country and across the sectors, including the private sector?

After all, we’re all in this together, right?.

New Schools Leg Up

An interesting blog here from The Other Taxpayers’ Alliance following Freedom of Information requests to government about the New Schools Network and its funding from government – with a positive endorsement of our new organisation the Local Schools Network right at the end.

The Local Schools Network

The Local Schools Network is now officially up and running – so please would you all click onto the site to indicate your support for your local school, if you wish to, and add a comment/story/view or two.

A group of us set up this website/campaign after the government decided to fund the New Schools Network to the tune of half a million pounds. While there is obviously a case to be made for new schools in some areas, and we would support these, the New Schools Agenda is frequently an attack on existing local state schools. Setting up Free Schools, particularly in already socially polarised inner city areas, will only further demoralise many community comprehensives, drawing away the better off and more motivated parents – those, that is, not already signed up to private education or grammars or those faith schools which can, through archaic admissions policies, shape their own school population in a way that many community/comprehensives simply can’t and wouldn’t want to.

The more I have worked on the Local Schools Network, while at the same time researching the history of our state system and visiting schools (for my forthcoming Verso book) the more I believe we are in the middle of a frequently covert but extraordinarily important battle over the future of state education, with many forces ranged against it.

That is why it is vital that we all defend – and fight to extend and improve – non selective state education against those, in the Coalition and certainly in the Tory party, who want to run it down at every turn and replace it with quasi independent schools or a return to grammars or a mish mash of both.

Our state education system has made extraordinary strides over the past few decades; but there is so much more to do. The Local Schools Network is just one contribution to defending this vital element of our society and working to improve it for all, not just a select few.

Please support us.