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March 27, 2007



Great minds think alike, Dave. I just wrote a post on the very same piece.

Lampl does an awful lot of good work. It's depressing to learn from the aticle that New Labour seems half-hearted about his overall philosophy.

Clive Davis

Sorry - forgot the link...


Jane Henry

I agree and am in support of all the motivation behind this report, but don't you think the problem is one of backwards thinking. Instead of saying, SEE, those evil private schools, we should be saying, LOOK those fabulous private schools, WHY ARE OUR CHILDREN NOT GETTING THE EDUCATION THEY DESERVE??? I've written in caps because it makes me cross. Yesterday I talked to a seventeen year old who had been on a week to Cambridge and met lots of kids from private schools. She was disgruntled because they could all argue better then her. But rather then being cross with them (as she was) she should be cross with her teachers. WHY haven't they taught her to argue properly?

For the record, my dad (a teacher) levelled the same complaint at my grammar school 25 years ago.

Labour's record on education is shameful beyond belief.


Dave Hill

Well, folks, I was only drawing attention to an interesting article and highlighting the findings of some interesting research. My own view is that the more I think about state (and other) provision of education the less certain I am about what I think! One interesting observation re. Lampl: The Guardian article quotes someone saying that what he really dreams of is a return to the model of "a grammar school in every town". I'm not at all convinced that represents the way forward and, interestingly, the Tories's education spokesman David "Two Brains" Willets agrees with me. Other than that....I'm confused!

Jane Henry

I think the issues are confusing, Dave. We all want poorer kids to get help, but we don't necessarily want a gang culture in our own kids's schools... Being a parent of school age kids no doubt breeds hypocrisy, but otoh, they only get one shot at education. You want them to have the best shot.

I do think the destruction of grammar schools has been very very bad for the poor but clever kid from an unacademic family, who was able to improve their lot in life (and it makes me so cross that the Labour party seems determined to kick the ladder away from underneath them), but I think the divide between grammar and secondary modern was abhorrent and we don't want a return to that.

Rather the aim should be that ALL children everywhere go to schools were excellence is the aim, and children are encouraged to reach their potential whatever that may be... (And not in terms of A*s etc. If a kid can only get a C let him get a C, and maybe push him for a B, don't make him feel a failure because he didn't get an A, that's just as divisive as it used to be...)


Ms Baroque

Dave, I've blogged on this recently too, but in a different light - as a direct result of my kids' experience in secondary school, and a conversation I had with my boy (in his GCSE year) and his friend (doing A levels in Bristol). They are demoralised, unstimulated, and are using up their precious energy and time in "hating the system" - both of them feel they're not being taught, they're just being crammed for exams. The friend asks his teachers for more, for information, for knowledge, but they say "you don't need that for the exam."

By contrast my good friend has two kids at fee-paying schools in Hampstead (well, the big one is now at Westminster) and WHAT A DIFFERENCE. Stimulated, challenged and excited from year dot, they're growing up happy and confident, curious about everything, and not afraid of showing enthusiasm.

My kid, by contrast, pretty much spent his first year of school sitting patiently on the mat waiting for the other kids to sit down.

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