Tailing the Tory school agenda

THE LABOUR Party’s rush to imitate the Tory Party on every issue took a new turn last week, when it ditched without fuss its ‘commitment’ to abolish grant maintained schools, which are the jewels in the crown of Tory Party education policy.

Last week Tony Blair unveiled the party’s new policy document - Diversity and Excellence - which reads like a second hand version of John Patten’s Choice and Diversity. All that has changed is some of the language, but the underpinning message is the same: the system of educational apartheid is here to stay.

Grant maintained schools are to be renamed, in a typically Labourite way, ‘community’, ‘aided’ or ‘foundation’ schools, and will incorporate voluntary aided schools.

Tony Blair and David Blunkett reserve their greatest enthusiasm for “parent power”, another Tory project. As we know, this is shorthand for middle class power and privilege, with working class parents typically left with no choice or power.

Diversity and Excellence avoids the issue of grammar schools or selection, which can only mean that a future Labour government would be happy to ‘manage’ an educational system that virtually condemns working class kids to an inferior education at birth, and which teaches them young that they are ‘inferior’ and can never fulfil their potential.

The bourgeois educational system is elitist and segregationist to the core. We need a truly comprehensive and universalist educational system, which aims to unlock the potential of every human being, not stifle it in the name of ‘excellence’ and ‘choice’.

Frank Vincent