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Monday, September 18, 2006

I'm For Burying Selective Schools Full Stop

Well done to Alan Johnson and his spin doctors for successfully burying bad news about the poor primary school results on the day we published the good news about GCSE results. After all, this is not a good time to add to Tony's woes.

Just an ordinary local school in West BromptonAlan made a great speech against selective education yesterday. Talking to my favourite publication "The Education Guardian", Alan said: "I'm against selection, full stop. I think the Prime Minister is as well. The changes that Labour introduced recently are intended to stop schools interviewing children or parents as part of their admissions process in order to operate selection by the back door.

A local mum says goodbye at the school gates before setting off for a hard day's work"Only one state school has gone public about flouting the existing rules against interviewing and the new rules will put a stop to this shocking behaviour, starting with the school in question which I understand is some place Oratory."

"No decent minded person would send their children to such a disgraceful institution", he continued, "it's not just Victorian but Mediaeval."

I grew up in a part of Kent that still has the 11+ today, after nine years of a Labour Government pledged to "Education, education, education" and over 45 years after it was scapped in Hackney under what was then I.L.E.A. My mother scrimped and saved, took in washing, and eventually was able to send me to a minor public school where I could be educated properly away from the riff-raff.

I remember children in my primary school class crying in the playground because they had "failed" and would not be going to the same school as me. I went on to a good degree at one of Britain's top universities and straight into a career in politics, just like so many successful Labour Party members before me, many of whom reached Cabinet positions. My school chums went on to all sorts of careers such as refuse disposal officers, school nutrition suppliers and welfare benefits consultants - all very socially useful but slightly less well paid than me.

Like Tony and Alan, I'm completely against selective education. Just so long as the stupid rules don't apply to me.

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