Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Labour, schools and the Forces

I find myself oddly unconcerned by the call for the armed forces to be more involved in education made by Stephen Twigg and Jim Murphy in the Daily Telegraph yesterday.

There are many children who will hate the idea (I would have been one) but there are others who would jump at the idea of “specialist Service Schools,” so why shouldn’t they be able to attend them?

Liberal and radicals should be keen to leaven the state system with more variety, choice and outright eccentricity. I also like the argument of Sean Davey on Liberal Democrat Voice that ssuch moves would be good for the Forces.

This sudden enthusiasm for the armed forces from two herbivorous Labour politicians, however, may tell us something about the Labour mind-set.

Because only a few days ago Stephen Twigg responded to research from the Sutton Trust suggesting that teenagers in England are half as likely as those in the average developed nation to reach higher levels in maths with the claim:
"Results for all pupils, including the brightest, improved under Labour. While there are always improvements that could be made, gifted and talented pupils were stretched through a National Academy, targeted scholarships and a new A* grade at A-level.”
It seems that in the Labour universe all is well with education or you have to call in the Army. My own radical case for children standing up when a teacher enters the room probably sounded laughably old-fashioned to most Labour bloggers, but look what their party is advocating now.

This lack of a middle position is somehow typical of Labour. I am reminded of a post about teenagers and swearing that I wrote in the early years of this blog where I note the assumption of a Guardian (inevitably) writer that the only alternative to his lax approach was something absurdly repressive.

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