David Cameron has said:
One of the most important things in your life – the education of your children – is largely out of your hands. Our reforms will take the power over education out of the council's hands and put it directly in parents' hands, so they have control.
I think this is incredible: it shows how out of touch with reality David Cameron is, and how unbelievable his policies are.
I have spent 15 years as a school governor at three schools in two London boroughs, many as Chair, a lot of the rest as Vice Chair, almost always chair of the finance committee. I seek no thanks: I simply make the point that this takes a lot of time. I’m not a governor right now; not least because I had the time to do this before becoming a parent, now I am a parent time is in much less supply.
But Cameron says parents should take full control of schools. It’s hard enough with education authority support, nigh on impossible without I should think – and the budget to do so is, I suspect just not available without bias against LEA schools being shown – which makes no sense at all.
So who are these parents? Certainly not those with two jobs needed to pay the mortgage: they have no time to run a school on the side. It’s hard enough to get them on the PTA or the scout committee. So they’re either those committed to politics (back to the past then) or those who can afford not to work (who will in that case be paying school fees, and so be entirely uninterested) or those who seek to profit from doing so.
Sorry – but that’s the real agenda here. Cameron wants to privatise schools. Most of his cronies have no idea how to make real money, I am sure. Just like those who tried to exploit the state through PFI, or those who want to do so by exploiting the NHS in this case they want to profit from state education.
That’s what Cameron wants. If he had any sense he’d know parents don’t want to run schools: they just want all schools to be good enough for their children. That is possible. Many states prove that. The UK does not. But it doesn’t require privatisation to solve it.
I readily admit Labour has not solved this: it’s dedication to the absurd concept of market measures of success through measurement of most things that are not important has ensured that. I hate the absurdity of the syllabus my children have no choice but follow, so much of it either absurdly irrelevant or absurdly beyond the reasonable reach of children of their age (and I genuinely wonder what on earth will be left for them to do at secondary school, so crazy is the demand on children by the age of 11). But privatising schools will not solve that. Trusting teachers will.
What Cameron shares with Labour is a complete lack of trust in the professional, the expert, those who are competent, and does instead place faith in the power of ‚Äòconsumer choice’ – most of it crazily uninformed. That’s the reason we’ve got the education system we have . And Cameron is going to add to that the burden of making a profit too – for that is the only way in which those new state schools will happen – and a very dim prospect for education as a whole that offers.
Like Blair and Brown Cameron shows he has no understanding of what is important – not least being education itself for education's sake and the parallel importance of letting children be children.
And he demonstrates the bankruptcy of the current ‚Äòeither / or’ political choice as a result.
If parents had their way they wouldn’t choose New Labour or the Conservatives to run education.