I was at a Christmas party yesterday where I was told by a council worker that up to 15-20% of the Harrow Council's bog standard comprehensive school seats are now looking to be filled by private school children whose parents cannot afford the school fees. In other words, these parents have either been made redundant, been fired, their business's closed or simply cutting back on expenses. Now they are at the council's doorstep and demanding that their children be educated on the government's expense. Hmmm, curious situation, how will that be handled? I dont know, the government cannot suddenly produce additional seats now, can you? So it will try to jam in these students into the comprehensive schools further ruining their status.
Which lead me to wonder if the government knows what to do? See this for an example. Not only it has screwed up the government school system, it is now going after the independent school system as well. I quote:
We have neither a sensible government nor a courageous opposition. The tinkering is likely to continue. Each year, trust schools will find themselves subjected to more onerous expectations. Their freedom will be further eroded. As it is, they are expected to release staff to support work in state schools. Their head teachers are encouraged to take responsibility for new academies. The more time spent on such activities, the less time there is to teach the children whose parents pay the fees that keep the school going. Sooner or later, the penny will drop. Those parents are going to ask whether they are getting a reasonable return on their investment. They are not.
So what about the private schools?
In 2005, 43% of A grades in mathematics, 43% in chemistry and 55% in modern foreign languages were achieved by the 7% of pupils at independent schools. Yes, such schools have small classes and supportive parents, but these are still impressive figures. Ideally, places in the private sector would be increased so more children could benefit from the education that good independent schools offer.
Heaven help the British education system with such dunderheads on the levers of educational policy. I personally am not impressed by the Labour ministers nor the Conservative chaps, seriously a bunch of donkeys. (PS, my kids go to comprehensives..)