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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?.