Monday 6 April 2009

Education should be for all

In the upcoming Fabian Review, Barry Sheerman MP calls on all MPs to support the state education system and educate their own children in state schools.
Mr Sheerman, chair of the Education Select Committee, suggests other public servants should do the same, and by doing so, would help create a better community spirit and a stronger community school.
The Huddersfield MP would like to launch an all-party campaign to sign up MPs to the idea and he believes this is a particularly opportune moment to do so.
Certainly Nick Clegg and David Cameron have both talked about the possibility of educating their children in state schools, and this is certainly a good time for discussion given, unusually, that all major party leaders have young children.
Sheerman hits out at the soft underbelly of education journalism, suggesting that many who write on this subject come from the mere 7% of kids who endure the private school system.
It is a surprise to many that the percentage is so low, given that newspapers can seem overly obsessed with private schools. This is partly because of their mystique, after all if we don't get to experience them, we don't know what happens behind closed doors. Partly their strange uniforms (who wears gaiters these days?) - and strange use of language ("wet bobs" springs to mind as an example), and partly due to our images of private schools from literature.
However, those oddities apart, there is certainly a case for tackling the pervasive message that if you buy yourself a private education, you are doing the best for your kids.
Sheerman says: "To consider the local community to show a complete lack of interest in your child's future."

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