Saturday, 30 August 2014

Guardian letter on social mobility

Sadly, Tristram Hunt`s analysis of the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission`s report is flawed.(Report condemns "closed shop" of Britain`s elite,28/08/14) The report does not show that "the coalition was failing on social mobility". On the contrary, a government which, immediately on coming to power, scraps Education Maintenance Allowances, then triples university fees, passes school assessment reforms which disadvantage children from poorer homes, cut funding for Sure Start Centres and libraries, and appoints the majority of its Cabinet from the likes of Eton and the Bullingdon club, has succeeded in achieving its objective. As the Report says, this "social engineering" has created the "elitism so embedded in Britain today".
     Should a government determined to increase social mobility ever gain power, it would have to restore the pre-2010 level playing field in GCSE and A-level examinations, end not only as Owen Jones says, "the charitable status for private schools", (A racket for the uber-privileged,28/08/14) but also the exemption from VAT on private school fees, as well as properly attacking the tax avoidance industry which enables so many of those fees to be paid. University fees have to be reduced, and a cap placed on charges for halls of residence, whilst the Oxbridge domination will only be ended by legislation, as these universities have long shown themselves unwilling to change. How about a law which only allows any university to recruit 7% of its undergraduates from private schools, in line with the national figure? As long as universities favour privately-educated applicants, money will beget money.

     Lastly, that government would require an Education Secretary from neither private school nor Oxbridge!

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