Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Dancing boys and state schools

In my day job yesterday I wrote a short news story for our website about a proposal for a new 'free school' aimed at boys aged 11 to 16 who  have taken ballet classes while at primary school and want to continue dancing in their teens. You will see my story owes an indecent amount to the original BBC News report that it links to.

I wrote this up because it was a nice anti-stereotype story (I know what my readers like) and because I thought I had just the right person to comment on it. But it also set me thinking politically.

Why do we never hear of innovative ideas like this in the conventional state system? I am sure there are a lot of original  work going on there, it's just that the defenders of that system do not seem interested in talking about it.

The Campaign for State Education puts itself forward in the media as the defender of that system, but always comes over as being against innovation and as being concerned with equality over anything else. (The prominence given to socialism and the Labour Party on the front page of its website may give you a clue as to why.)

And for years the Liberal Democrats' greatest fear in education was a "two-tier system". This seemed to come down to the belief that if a reform could not be introduced everywhere, all at once, then it should not be introduced at all. In practice, of course, that is a recipe for sclerosis.

Oh, and since you ask, I disliked Billy Elliot.

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