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June 01, 2007



I'm rather surprised Wilby doesn't mention the effect of the 1944 Education Act in the decades after WW2 - before that, the chance of getting post-14 education if you were poor was a great deal smaller than one in seven: it depended on getting one of the few scholarships available for a fee-paying school. Grammar schools were a step along the way to making education widely available.

I think the real mistake is in the over-emphasis on academic education as the means to 'ascend the occupational ladder' - it simply reinforces the social hierarchy of occupations. Had the Tomlinson report been implemented, that might have brought about real change, but Labour removed the reforming heart of it by simply cherry-picking it for yet another kind of qualification, and retreated to talking about the 'gold standard' of A Levels. Blaming 17 years of Tory rule for the wealth gap is disingenuous. 10 years of Labour rule has not reversed the trend, and they bucked the opportunity to give practical skills the same value as academic skills.


Perhaps you should ask Simon Hoggart, whose father benefited greatly from a grammar school education...
there is some data which says that the Maltese are among the most contented of people.
I think that any system of reward and taxation which produces larger gaps between top and bottom cannot lead to any increase in total happiness,especially when job prospects at the bottom are diminishing.
New Labour has been obsessed with putting increasing numbers of children through the degree hoop,rather than focus on appropriate education,probably just to keep unemployment numbers down.

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