Creaming education

So more adult colouring books are being sold in France than cookery books. Reminded me that Nico had given me an adult colouring book so I’ll be getting on with it and surfing the zeitgeist.

Swallowing getting increasingly painful but I’m determined to keep eating and drinking as long as I can. Just had a visit from Angie and John so we had afternoon tea (again) and we’d bought some big, thick cream cakes and mine was delicious.

My 12th visit to the radio saloon had me having a coughing fit at the end of treatment, not overly pleasant while constrained by ‘mask’. I now have a veritable pharmacopeia, know it’s not quite the right word but it is a very lovely word, of pharmaceuticals at home and need a pharmacist to dispense them as I’m getting too befuddled.

So Tristram ‘posh boy’ Hunt is promoting a new labour policy of private schools having to earn their tax breaks by helping state school pupils. Whilst it’s good to highlight inequality fostered and perpetuated through private schools there is much that is wrong with the latest proposals. Already we get right wing whinging from The Mailevolents and Torygraph with the usual class envy bollocks, but there are dubious aspects to the proposals:

  • the implicit prejudice that private education is ‘better’ and state education inferior.
  • that private teachers can benefit state youngsters with their expertise. A few years Dr Seldon, head of Wellington College, who has some good educational ideas, was spreading his expertise at a local state school when he lost his temper at an assembly. Maybe private school teachers could learn a thing or two from state school teachers.
  • Hunt doesn’t mention once one of the main, if not the main, difference between private and state schools, namely class size. Also, of course, the almost unbelievable contrast in resources and facilities.
  • it doesn’t touch private school’s charitable status; it’s incredible that these bastions of privilege are considered charities, no hold on, silly me as we do have socialism for the rich in so many ways.
  • private schools as well as charitable status get many other huge state subsidies, yep, the welfare state in action.

Essentially Hunt’s proposals are miniscule in relation to the overall true state of affairs and will do very little to change our class ridden and rotten education system.

A little anecdote: many years ago I was a PE teacher at Woolwich Polytechnic boys school, an inner city London comprehensive. The school had a basic old gym, an asphalt playground and it was a coach journey to the communal playing fields. There was an international standard athlete on our staff, Paul Williams, and he arranged an inter-school athletics meeting. It was held at Dulwich College (the grinning gargoyle’s alma mater). I can still vividly remember the look on all our students faces as they saw and realised what facilities the Dulwich boys had: state of the art running track, sports halls, dozens of grass sports pitches, astroturf pitches, and much more, all on site It is still the same nowadays, if not worse. Why do we tolerate this inequality and injustice?

Perhaps we are simply overwhelmed by the massive amount presented to us daily. Just take today:

  • current director at Tesco who 2 years ago was head of the Food Standards Authority and is now lobbying to prevent naming and shaming supermarkets who sell infected chicken that kills 100 people/year.
  • intensely arrogant and obnoxious Mellor in back of cab
  • staff at Save the Children objecting to Blair’s award
  • Iain Duncan Smith
  • Mark Donner, managing principal of London Office of Westbrook partners, owners of the New Era estate in Hoxton, London, and overseeing probable eviction of lower paid tenants has just bought £3.9m country mansion
  • new boss of BG (formerly part of British Gas) has £25m pay deal, even the Institute of Directors think this excessive.
  • new drug to lessen desire to drink alcohol (nalmefene).

Oh the unremitting negativity of this blog, but want to briefly return to education with this quote from a letter to the Guardian a few years ago from an ex-private school person: “As an escapee from one such institution,” he wrote, “my experience is that the ethos … instilled largely consists of overweening arrogance, a total inability to admit errors and a feeling of innate superiority to the rest of the population, leading to such joyous public-school-led adventures as the Iraq war and the banking crisis.”

Manifesto 29:

  • all cream buns to be like the ones we bought today: crammed with as much cream as possible without losing shape/falling apart.

There are still 2 cream cakes in our fridge,

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.


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