Friday, September 08, 2006

I'm not allowed to speak to you, Mrs Tompkins

Schools are to be forbidden to interview parents when deciding which children to admit. It seems our favourite sources of news expect liberals to think this is good news. The BBC reports it under the headline: "Backdoor school selection curbed ." The Guardian reports it under the headline: "Admissions code aims to make selection fairer."

But if schools are banned from interviewing parents, doesn't that mean parents are banned from interviewing schools too? How, in those circumstances, can they possibly decide whether a particular school will suit their child or not?

This government move implies that children are an amorphous mass who can be sent to one school or another without any concern for their individual character or abilities. Yet, as I said in the Guardian (hem, hem) in April:

If liberalism is to amount to something more than socialism without the identity cards, respect for individual difference must be central to it.
And the official Lib Dem response today? Sarah Teather's press release says:
A system where applications were kept anonymous would be much more sound. It would guarantee that schools could not pick, or exclude, children because of knowledge of their family name or address.
Oh dear.

1 comment:

Pete in Dunbar said...

[sigh] The unspoken assumption is that citizens are merely supplicants for the bounty supplied by the state, and that the organs of the state are the only ones which will do any choosing, rather than citizens being consumers with a right to make their own choices. But then, there does seem to be a large section of the Liberal Democrat membership who really belong in the Labour Party.