A New Grammar Comprehensive in Every Town

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All Change Please! is perhaps best known for its satirical announcements of surreal Df-ingE policies that attempt to reveal them for the nonsense the real ones are. But this time All Change Please! has a truly serious suggestion to make.

Before it does so though it is important to be aware that Df-ingE policy is never derived from even its lack of understanding of the reality of teaching and learning going on in our schools. Much of what they do involves little more than a re-branding exercise in which the name is changed but the processes of teaching and learning remain the same. It’s all politically-motivated spin intended to reassure its loyal Daily Mail readers that the government is successfully putting the Great back into Britain so that the electorate will put the Tories back into Government when the next general election finally occurs.

But currently it seems that Mrs May or May Not is facing considerable criticism of the new school funding arrangements and of her run-it-up-the-flagpole policy of reintroducing grammar schools. So without further ado, here’s All Change Please! very helpful suggestion…

All Change Please!‘s proposal is that Mrs May or May Not should announce the introduction of special new ‘Grammar Comprehensives‘ in every town. These will be existing comprehensives or academies that agree to set up special grammar-school streams in which the academically-able will be exclusively taught. That way every child will potentially have access to Russell Group universities, and individuals can easily transfer across streams at any appropriate time. Selection for the stream will be sometime during the first term, based on teacher assessment rather than test, thus meaning that wealthy parents will not be able to play the system by paying for extra tuition. At the same time, the money saved from setting up new grammar schools can be diverted into re-balancing the school funding crisis for all.

If the idea were to be adopted it could be spun in the Daily Mail as a brilliant innovative Tory initiative that will both significantly improve social mobility and save school budgets. It really is a win-win solution!

Meanwhile, once the sign at the school gates has been suitably altered, of course schools, teachers and students will simply and quietly get on with what the majority of them have already been doing for years anyway. And all it takes is a change of name.

But perhaps All Change Please! should keep its idea to itself, lest the Df-ingE start to get a reputation for doing something sensible and thereby help the Tories get returned in the next election? So for now, perhaps better to keep the suggestion to yourself….

Image credit: DC Thompson

I come to bury Gove, not to praise him

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Accidentally listen to a politician speak on the radio or TV, or read what they’ve said in a newspaper and it won’t be long before you hear one of them play the emotive Social Mobility card. Now All Change Please! is of course all in favour of enabling members of the population to improve their position in life, but our politicians seem to have a rather different and somewhat skewed view of the electorate’s aspirations to all become judges, doctors, lawyers, journalists and, of course, politicians. And All Change Please! suspects that in reality the potential for social mobility is better now than it’s ever been? (Discuss…)

The latest culprit appears to be our esteemed foreign secretary William Hague – AKA The Hood  – talking on the BBC Today programme:

The disturbing thing, I would say, is that in the 30-odd years since I was at a comprehensive school, it probably in those intervening decades will have become a bit harder for somebody from a comprehensive school to become the Foreign Secretary, or whatever position they aspire to.

That reflects on a long period of this country falling too far behind in the world in state education, and thankfully we now have the best Education Secretary in living memory – or longer – who is trying to put that right.’

Read more, if you dare: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2507861/William-Hague-says-harder-comprehensive-pupils-reach-now.html#ixzz2l205V0Mx

To which the ever-dependable Tony Wheeler responded:

It’s not state schools that hamper, it’s independent schools that have indoctrinated parents, pupils and the most powerful into believing that it’s worth breaking young people in order to keep these jobs in the old firm/family.

I am a product of comprehensive education and the most important thing it taught me is that I do not want to be a senior politician or a Whitehall civil servant or a QC, or a senior banker or a hedge fund manager or any of the so called “top” jobs eagerly snapped up by the Eton and Charterhouse Tory boys.  I know enough about what makes me unhappy to know that I would have to significantly break myself to be able to take on any of these roles.

As a teenager I had a big enough ego to believe I could’ve been anything I wanted to be but the idea of spending any time with this bunch of broken people was just stupid. I was having too much fun doing all sorts of exciting stuff and I wanted it to continue as long as possible.

It’s the Oxbridge elite (widely touted in this debate as in charge of all this stuff) who have mucked up the banking system, the health service the BBC, the transport system, power and water services. Their list of abject failures is endless. I think it’s time the proletariat woke up to the uselessness of this axis of evil and told them all to bugger off down the Job Centre…

And of course the reality is that during the 30 years since Hague attended his comprehensive school, standards have risen dramatically – from a time when a minority achieved O levels and the majority obtained second-best CSEs, to today when around half of children getting a grade A to C grades GCSE in at least five subjects. Let’s just hope and pray Hague has a better grasp of Foreign Policy than he does of Education.1S-4065408563_fdebe27a32_b

Meanwhile Hague is not the only member of the gang. Here’s another politician who comes to praise Gove and not to bury him.  Over the weekend the Torygraph published the following article by Boris Johnson:

We should be humbly thanking the super-rich, not bashing them

in which he makes some interesting, if controversial, points, before spoiling it all by writing:

There are kids everywhere who have a natural, if undiscovered, flair for mathematics and the mental arithmetic that business needs. They just don’t have the education to bring out that talent – which is why Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, is so right to be conducting his revolution in schools.

Over the past 35 years All Change Please! has encountered many talented children whose artistic abilities have been side-lined in favour of academic subjects, but never one who has been held back from doing mathematics.

The belief persists that simply making mathematics – and other academic subjects – more difficult is in itself going to improve standards. Perhaps therefore we should somehow contrive to simply make parliamentary process more difficult, in order to improve the standards of politicians….?

Image credit (lower): Flickr  Mark Scholl