From Cradle to Grave – Jeremy Corbyn’s N.E.S. will transform and rebuild Education in Britain

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 From Cradle to Grave – Jeremy Corbyn’s National Education Service

The Labour Party achieved a landslide victory after the war. It must have been so exciting looking forward to peace, to the promise of a better world for ordinary people. Homes for all, and a National Health Service, a Welfare state. One thing was missing, and that was a National Education Service which is now planned by Labour under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

Daily-Herald-27-July-1945Daily Herald “Labour in Power” 27th July 1945

Those days were remembered, in Think Left’s blog Academisation and the Demolition of our Education Service

 

After the war, the hope was that the Labour Party would introduce policies which would change the lives of working class people, leading to a fairer society, and a fair education system was on their list.

It was not just the working class who knew things needed to change. It had been clear that there was a shortage of skills during the war, and this led to the 1944 Education Act  which led to the provision of free state education for all children from 5 -15.

The incoming socialist Labour government, led by Attlee, and inspired by Bevan, brought in popular policies, especially the introduction of a universal National Health Service, and an extensive social housing building programme. To the disappointment of many, a universal National Education Service was not an outcome, and this omission led to decades of disruption to an education service which, as I write, is now at a point of re-privatisation, via academisation.

attlee mug

Attlee’s government did not go far enough to eradicate the class-ridden divisiveness caused the by privileges from private education and public schools. The state-funded education system introduced was a tripartite system of grammar, secondary modern and rarer technical schools. Selection at eleven would determine the course of a child’s life before even reaching puberty. Meanwhile, the rich and privileged continued to send their children to private and public schools, which opened the doors to an elitist society and via Oxbridge right into the heart of our political system, maintaining class divisions.

Had Attlee’s government made the brave decision to solve the problem of private and Church schools, and introduced a free universal education system for all, and eradicated private education, I believe it would have led to a fairer, and much more settled system which would have benefited all as the NHS has done. Everyone benefits from an educated population. We share the technological advances, healthcare, scientific research, and can enjoy the Arts.

But that dream is still alive. Jeremy Corbyn wants to see a National Education Service

. Corbyn wants to see investment in education system from cradle to grave. Education is not about training for a job, about ticking boxes and league tables. Education is about enriching our lives – and life long learning. It is fifty years since Harold Wilson’s inspirational Open University which opened doors for so many.

Tory cuts and fees have taken the “Open” away and closed doors to this university without walls. Education should not end with a school certificate. There is so much knowledge and skills to share.

In July 2016, 100 Tory MPs call for return to grammar schools. Grammar schools select pupils, and are not open to all children. It is impossible to have selection without exclusion. The  politics of superiority – a selfish, divisive attitude of “I want something you can’t have” is not unknown to the Conservative Party. But perhaps they have short memories, because it was Tory voters themselves, those who could not afford private schooling which decried the divisive grammar schools.  Further development of the new comprehensive schools was due to disgruntled middle class conservative voters who could not get places for their children in what they perceived as their very own grammar schools, so resulting in the Tories losing power in 1964. This is something which Margaret Thatcher, while an advocate of the grammar schools, was well aware of. The Newsome report  entitled “Half our Future”, published in 1963, recognised the eleven-plus failure and a drive towards a more comprehensive system was subsequently planned.

NFER on grammars

Comprehensive education was intended to be more inclusive. Indeed it is. But where there is an education system where privileges are bought – fast track entrance to university, schools with small class sizes, it cannot be fully comprehensive. Evidence shows that the comprehensive system has not failed  yet the private system, which excludes those by wealth skews results.

Tuition fees are leaving a generation in debt, and as a result our society is wasting potential talent. The gap in university access between students from state and independent schools is widening. This is expected to widen further by the recent abolition of maintenance grants will hurt those most in need. John McDonnell  rightly said to students  protesting against hike in tuition fees

“Education is a gift from one generation to another, not a commodity to be bought and sold.

For generations now one generation has handed the baton onto the next, and it’s our job to ensure that the next generation has a better quality of life than the last.”

Education benefits us all. Corbyn’s Education policy will put an end to tuition fees, and restore grants.  Building on that, his plan for an NES and a life-long learning service will open up  education for everyone and enrich our lives and our society.  The thirst for knowledge and skills does not stop and the school gates. Education is about life-long learning, and that is what Labour wants to see. We can start this dream at the very beginning of an incoming Labour government. This is exciting, positive politics and the spirit of ’45 is alive again.

Jeremy Corbyn writes  for Labour List

“The case for investing in early years education towards universal free childcare is overwhelming. A study by PriceWaterhouseCoopers a decade ago told us that in the long-term universal childcare would more than pay for itself – due to extra tax revenues from those in work and productivity gains. Politicians like to dress up in hard hats and hi-vis jackets on their pet construction projects, but lack the same enthusiasm for investment in social infrastructure.

In 2020 we should start by reversing the cuts to the adult skills budget and expand it into a lifelong learning service by adding 2% to corporation tax (still comfortably the lowest in the G7). This funding would be hypothecated to expand adult learning into a lifelong learning education resource. The extra tax revenues brought by a high skill, high productivity and high pay economy will fund further expansion.

A National Education Service will give working age people access throughout their lives to learn new skills or to re-train. It should also work with Jobcentre Plus to offer claimants opportunities to improve their skills, rather than face the carousel of workfare placements, sanctions and despair. We need a return to ambitious joined-up government.

While slashing college funding, Tories  boasts of increasing apprenticeships. Yet too many are low quality, failing to give young people the transferable skills they need to get on.

It is clear that some employers are using apprenticeships and traineeships as a means of circumventing minimum wage legislation. This has to end.

“We will build a new National Education Service, open to all from throughout their lives. We will create universal public childcare to give all children a good start in life, allowing greater sharing of caring responsibilities and removing barriers to women participating in the labour market. We will bring about the progressive restoration of free education for all; and guarantee quality apprenticeships and adult skills training.”

jeremyforlabour.com

How refreshing to hear positive , sensible policies from Labour. Jeremy Corbyn speaks, honestly, pragmatic, socially desirable policies. He challenges the Tory myth of austerity, and these are the policies people have been calling for. All Labour supporters should sign up and vote for Jeremy Corbyn, who is just what the Labour Party and the people of Britain need. He certainly has my vote, my best wishes, and hopes.

Disgraceful Academy Chain Head was *Sick* at GOOD OFSTED rating

Latest Twist on saga of Academy Chain Inspiration Trust

Latest News on Academy Saga

Previously posted by Jamie Smith here

“Leaked emails to a national newspaper show head of the Inspiration Trust felt sick at a Norwich school’s ‘Good’ Ofsted rating. ‘

There are increasing reports that Academisation has failed, and has always been a veil for back-door privatisation. Recently, Cameron suggested “coasting schools” could also be targets for his Academisation Programme. Academy sponsors clearly do not see schools as educational establishments, merely yet more public assets to be sold off. Hewett school’s OFSTED report is a tribute to the hard working children and teachers, and should be celebrated.  Clearly Dame Rachel De Souza does not agree.

The email correspondence seen by the Guardian newspaper between the head of the trust, Dame Rachel De Souza and its chairman, Sir Theodore Agnew in 2013 has lead to anti-academies campaigner and Norwich South Labour MP Clive Lewis to raise further doubts about the trust’s suitability as a sponsor for the Hewett School.”

Clive said:
“Why would a so-called leader in education feel sick at a school being graded as ‘Good’ by Ofsted?  Imagine how the children would feel if they knew the person who could be running their school next year felt ‘sick’ at them being graded as Good.”

“Being ‘Good’ is a cause for celebration, not dismay, and Dame De Souza should apologise for her remarks. Such comments will only increase resentment amongst the parents and community of the Hewett school who overwhelmingly stated they do not want the Inspiration Trust involved with their school.”

“I shall be writing to the DfE on this matter, questioning why they believe Inspiration and its chief executive are fit to run this school or any other for that matter. It also raises questions again about the politicisation of Ofsted gradings.”

The Hewett has been at the centre of a row locally, with a decision due imminently from the Secretary of State on whether or not the Inspiration Trust takes over the school.  Recent results from a local consultation overwhelmingly showed that local people were against the plans.

Clive has been supporting the “We Back Hewett” campaign.

Greedy Tories, Leave our Schools Alone!

Greedy Tories – Leave our Schools Alone

The school bully marches into playgrounds across this country, David Cameron with Nicky Morgan, and Michael Gove cheering from the sidelines, imposing his will.  Against the will of teachers and parents, he pursues the policy of Academisation. Tory policies of destruction of LEAs, and encouraging children and their schools to compete against one another is nothing to do with learning. It has nothing to do with professionalism. Centralised services such as  provision for those with special educational needs (SEN), education welfare, (EWS) support for children’s mental health (CAMHS),  Educational Psychology Services (EPS) , support for children suffering ME/CFS, or EBSR (emotionally based school refusal) can be provided where schools work together within local consortia or LEAs, but where profit is the objective such services are are lost to our children, and as a result so many lives are irrevocably damaged.

The latest we hear from David Cameron is that even “good schools could become Academies“. They have moved on from those schools which were  struggling, having cashed in they are now moving on to those which aren’t.

Cameron now says , “And other schools rated ‘good’ at their last inspection – but which haven’t been maintaining high standards since. They are giving children ‘just enough’ to avoid falling beneath our floor standards. But frankly ‘just enough’ isn’t good enough for my children, and it shouldn’t be for yours.

“So we’re going to say to those schools: if you’re not making fast enough progress in raising standards, you have to change and if you can’t do it yourself, you have to become a sponsored academy and welcome in people with a proven track record of running outstanding schools.”

Of course, everyone would like to see the very best for every child and Labour’s  Every Child Matters set out to do that.  There is no evidence that the policies of Academisation and schools’ privatisation do anything to improve our schools, yet we do see evidence of Academy Schools which have  failed since their staus has changed. OFSTED Chief Michael Wilshaw has stated that struggling schools are no better off under academy control.

In the beginning, the Academisation programme was hidden behind lies of “improving schools”, or ‘reforming education”. The evidence now presents this as a sham, as academies are failing, and one wonders whether the intention is to reacademise the failing academies, or perhaps a new, equally shallow word will be introduced. This programme is, and always has been about privatisation of our state education system, and about profits for companies who wish to speculate. There is privatisation of exam boards, textbooks and buildings, of teacher’s careers and even input on the curriculum itself.

But it is more ominous than all that. They seek to control as well as profit. They seek  a division of our society, where the principle of a universal, comprehensive education system becomes dead and buried. Will they seek to gain control of future generations walking into a zombie world?  I consider Tories underestimate the intelligence of people. I have hope. There is massive opposition  to Academisation of our schools. That voice must be heard, and Labour must oppose  this policy and call for a return to LEAs or teacher managed consortia.

The Eton-Educated Tories are blinkered. The principle that education can be bought is indeed flawed, and evidence shows that education systems are most successful where privatised schools are banned. Societies are successful where its citizens are well educated and  informed,  where skills can develop, where the Arts and Science thrive. But the Conservative Party does not look to improve learning, the quality of life of the majority of citizens, or the development of skills and industry. They seek to make profits and will do so until there is nothing left, but a wasteland –  unless we oppose this and provide an alternative. Labour must  oppose Tory privatisation of our schools,  and reintroduce local consortia where communities support all children for mutual benefit of us all.

We must not allow them to gamble with our children’s lives.

Co-op Schools of the Future, an alternative to Academies and Free Schools

Co-operative Schools – the Alternative to Gove’s Private Academisation

Education has been a political football for decades. Perhaps some are surprised to hear it was Margaret Thatcher who got rid of grammar schools. Grammar  schools selected on academic performance rather than income, so many Tory voters found disappointment.

“The reason for the change from a selective to a comprehensive system was controversial, but not deeply divisive, at the time: middle-class parents in the Sixties and Seventies began to resent a test that could consign their children, at the tender age of 11, to schools which they regarded as second-class.”

Comprehensive education should be about the very best high quality education and opportunities for everyone, but in truth there has never been a true comprehensive system, since private and elitist public schools have remained. Now Michael Gove’s policies of Academisation and Free schools are being introduced by the Coalition at an alarming pace. And why? So that they can be ripe for privatisation and profiteering. The world’s best achieving education systems are in fact in countries such as Finland where private schools are banned.

go-away-Gove-its-our-school

What can be done? Here is alternative a way forward. The Co-operative School. 

This animation was commissioned by the Co-operative College and the Co-operative Group to explain how co-operative values and principles are being used in schools to make a real difference 

Weston-super-Mare Labour Party reports: ” South Ward Labour Councillors , and the party’s candidate in the forthcoming by-election on 2nd May, are calling on local parents to wholeheartedly and actively support moves to bring the Wards three local primary schools together into a ‘Co-operative Schools Trust’.

Under plans to be discussed shortly, Bournville, Windwhistle and Oldmixon Primary Schools (together with Walliscote Primary and Milton Park Primary) are considering becoming foundation schools, and operating as a co-operative Trust , which would be known as ‘the Weston-super-Mare Education Trust’.

The Co-operative Schools Society

Co-operative Schools are about developing a balanced set of values that will help young people become the good citizens our society needs.

The Values and Principles we have adopted are internationally agreed and used by Co-operatives across the world.

Membership of SCS is open to any school or educational co-operative as long as they share our values and principles. Our members use these values in their own organisation and work with other SCS members for everyone’s benefit.

“The Trust and partner organisations can exert influence, so who those stakeholders are is important, but the degree of openness, accountability and democratic participation that is afforded to educational professionals, parents and other commnunity stakeholders is such that we really believe this is the way forward – particularly given the challenges facing our schools in South Ward.”

If you would like to find out more about them use one of the following links:

Further Reading:

  1. Meg Munn MP. “Why I’m bringing forward the Co-operative Schools Bill
  2. Co-operative Keynsianism: Think Left
  3. Academisation and Demolition of our Education System  Think Left
  4. Gove’s Selective Truth Think Left
  5. New Statesman: Why whirlwind Gove is acting so fast.
  6. Local Schools Network: Would abolishing private schools improve education of all our children?
  7. The End of the Grammar School