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March 23, 2006

Family friendly - not!

Earlier this week there was a debate on a local BBC Radio station while I was doing my usual morning preparation to face the world. It concerned the allocation of children to school places by the Local Education Authority. Now this is a very sensitive issue, because, naturally, parents want their children to attend a good school, one which will give the child at least a running chance at a good education. The next criterion is almost always that it should be reasonably close to home, and, if there is more than one child in a family, that it should be the same school the other siblings attend.

But, as ever when you let petty bureaucrats run things, it is never that simple. The Lord alone knows what criteria these rule ridden idiots follow, but it isn't commonsense. The debate centred around the fact that, this year, more than 20% of the families applying for places in the school of their choice have been allocated a place in another not of their choosing. Almost 70% of those are cases which separate children and place one in one school and one in another, frequently there is already an older child attending a school and the parents, not unreasonably, want their other child in the same school. But, apparently this is not a criterion for allocation according to the mealy mouthed idiot from the LEA!

When the LEA representative was confronted with the fact that one brother has been allocated a place in a very good school in one part of the County and his younger brother has been allocated a place in another at the other side of the County, all he was prepared to say was that the LEA was only required in law to offer the parents a place in a school and that they were not obliged to take into consideration the presence of any siblings! The parent concerned pointed out that she has four children and will now have the joy of delivering each child to a different school - a round trip (at our present fuel prices and the taxman's cut!) of just over 24 miles each morning and each afternoon - thanks to the incompetent weasel in the LEA. This is not unique, it was the experience of my own family to have our three children distributed between schools, fortunately we did manage to argue a case to move one, but in any event it hardly helped as the Comprehensives to which they were allocated were, without exception, comprehensive failures at providing a balanced education or to meet their education needs.

The present system of allocating schools by reference only to what is available and the absence of any consideration of a child's ability, family cohesion or parental wishes is a complete nonsense. It is beloved by the jobsworths who fill our burgeoning bureaucracy precisely because it gives them unlimited power over the lives of not only the next generation, but their parents as well. It is a system designed by socialist ideologues to ensure that all education is as mediocre as possible and to guarantee that they are never exposed to a generation better educated, more capable and more willing to exercise judgement than they are.

In short, it is yet another example of how our education system is being run for the benefit of those who run it and for their paymasters, the political elite who can manipulate the system to their advantage. The rest of us have to take whatever they dish out and be grateful. So much for "Parental Choice".

Posted by The Gray Monk at March 23, 2006 09:47 AM

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