In an editorial a few months ago you rightly pinpointed Labour`s main mistake, in that it wastes too much time trying to show the government how to "do the wrong policy better", rather than explaining why "it`s wrong in the first place". (Perils of gut instinct,16/07/13) Yet in today`s leader you describe Tristram Hunt`s "acceptance of the essentials" of Gove`s free schools project "a good call"! (Labour`s hunt for answers, 15/10/13) You may be nearer the truth with your observation that free schools have "captured the political agenda out of all proportion to their influence", but that has undoubtedly been caused by the media`s tendency to concentrate on the educational needs of the middle class, compared with the relatively small attention it pays to the damaging effects of Gove`s curriculum and assessment changes on the pupils of more working class origin. Thank goodness for Peter Wilby, who at least acknowledges the need for Labour to provide "a clear alternative". (Dear Tristram Hunt ..., 15/10/13) His proposal to withdraw the charitable status from private schools would benefit the Treasury with the resulting payment of VAT on school fees, whilst forcing universities to enroll at least 85% of their intake from state schools seems generous, in view of the fact that only 7% of our children attend private schools, but dominate our more highly regarded universities.
Hunt,an historian, will know that there is little or no evidence to substantiate Gove`s spurious claims about the quality of education currently being delivered in our state schools, and he needs to be vociferous in his support for the teaching profession; after the last four years, it`s the least Labour should be offering them!