Is The British Education System Set To Rise Phoenixlike From The Ashes ?
The Politics of Envy
Back in March 2012, a year after finishing Chemotherapy. I wrote a Hub which went under the title of "End the Politics of envy and Bring Back the Grammar Schools ".
IT, WHILST NOT ONE OF MY MOST READ HUBS, STILL STIRRED INTEREST IN OTHER WAYS AND SINCE THEN ,IN TANDEM WITH MANY OTHERS,I HAVE CONTINUED TO CAMPAIGN WHENEVER POSSIBLE FOR A RETURN NEARER TO THE SYSTEM THAT SERVED US SO WELL FOLLOWING THE BUTLER EDUCATION ACT OF 1944.
That act shaped my own schooldays, as I went to Infants School in 1945 and then to Junior School in 1948 . I took the 11 plus examination in 1950/51 and went on to Grammar School in the Autumn Term of 1951.
THERE I STAYED AND WAS SHAPED FOR THE YEARS AHEAD, UNTIL 1959 WHEN, ARMED WITH GOOD A-LEVELS I WENT ON TO LEARN HOW TO TEACH.
Grammar Schol taught me many things apart from academic studies. It was there I learned how to speak in public, how to use a microphone and how to take leadership in my stride. I was taught by a variey of teachers, not all of them good, but enough to ensure that right always prevailed, especially thanks to a visionary Head Master who was someone to look up to at all times both good and not so good.
Sadly, the 1960"s saw the politically envious screaming their envies and politicians, both local and National cowering in the face of their onslaught. Thus, they forced change ,regardless of whether it was beneficial or not. The 11 plus examination became villified and instead of the Grammar,Technical High and Secondary Modern Schools, they came up with the "one size fits all" Comprehansive Schools that still hold back Secondary Education even today.
The mob rule frenzythat pushed the Comprehensive Shools forward was based on pure envy and the misguided belief that by going to the same building all school children would benefit from an equal education. Absolute rubbish of course! I did a teaching practice in one of these "factories" in the Midlands Not only did the teachers not know the kids names, they did not know their fellow staff members either ! There were you see, 3 Staff Rooms.A soul destroying experience for one who looked forward to teaching in an environment that fostered learning
Now I can understand the political electors baying as a mob but for the life of me I cannot explain why Ministers went for such a communistic approach, other than, of course ,there were "votes in it " for them .Even, I am reliably informed, the man hailed as the inventor of the Comprehensive system, Graham Savage, admiited his system would hold back the brighter chidren and thus lower Educational attainment across the board. Which Ministers and MP"s voted for hat I wonder Even in East Germany the people recognised this and campaigned vigorously to have Comprehensives repaced by the German equivalent of Grammar Schools when Communism finally crumbled.
The Politics of Envy were thus, there, replaced by the Politics of Opportunity and Reason but to date there are but little signs of this happening here. However all may not be lost and below I seek to eschew pessimism and seek to be at last a little optimistic for the future. Maybe my Grandchildren"s chldren will fare better than they, themselves.
Every Bonfire starts with a Spark
Too many years have gone by to probably, rescue my old school founded in 1608, but elsewhere, there are signs that this 21st Century may see a better future for balanced Education customised to fit realistic achievement and encourage self esteem for all.
The reason for this slight optimism is that an existing Grammar School in Kent has been given permission to create a Grammar SChool under the banner so to speak, of the existing school. It remains to be seen if others will seek to replicate this and, of course, it will not fit all parts of the country but it is a real glimmer of hope for all those of us who despise the self serving political animals that have condemned so many generations merely to fulfill their own misguided politcal views.
I believe, as a lad from a simple background that true Equality in Education can only be achieved when Grammar Schools are included as a key constituent in our system. They are not the answer to every Eductional problem but they provide a firm structure upon which to develop other types of Education. Like the Grammar Schools, our Techical High Schools were largely swept away in the rush to Comprehensives. We live in an age where we have never needed them more and it is time the brave and enlightened took up the challenge to see them both cornerstones of Eduation hre once more.
An End to Double Standards ?
HERE IN UK AT LAST MAYBE THERE IS A GLIMMER OF HOPE FOR ALL WHO SEEK TO PROVIDE GOOD EDUCATION TO MIRROR ABILITY FOR ALL OUR cHILDREN.
Throughout the dark days of the second half of the 20th Century, stoic resolve has ensured that, at least in a few more enlightened areas of the country, the Grammar School flame has still been seen to shine defiently. So too, have the Independent Shools seen people keen to pay ever increasing fees to get a place for their child, so disgusted with the State system as they are. Those not able quite so to do, study examination results and migrate to towns, or to the areas of such towns and cities where residence gains a place at a school with good results to support it.
Amazingly, or not, perhaps, some of such people are to be found in the ranks of those who fought bitterly against Grammar Schools and denounced Independent Schools at every opportuinty. Double standards Councillors MP"s and Ministers are to be found everywhere and an end to this must be found. Education is too important to be left to politicians who need to get themselves elected every so often. They do ot make balanced judgements because of that and our childrenare force to suffer for their mistakes.
So, what is the answer ? Please give your comments if you have, like me strong views on this subject.