Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Winning the teachers` vote

With Tristram Hunt`s feeble attempt to attack the privileges enjoyed by the private education sector, presumably trying unsuccessfully to develop policies showing respect for ordinary people, Labour clearly is in need of rejuvenation, even radicalisation, in the area of education. His bungled effort ended up insulting all involved in state education, with the implication that teaching in private schools is so much superior!

      There is, without doubt, a desperate need to display more respect for working people, and education provides Labour with many opportunities to do just that. For starters, it has to be accepted that Gove "conned" the country; his reforms were unnecessary, examinations were not too easy, and the improving GCSE and A-level results were because of hard work by students and teachers, and improved teaching methods. Imagine how disappointed proud parents and their offspring would have been when Labour failed to challenge Gove`s ridiculous assertions. That failure merited the description,  'Disrespect'!
Schools generally were improving back in 2010, and did not need 'freedom' away from local authority interference. Gove and the Tories were worried because state sector results were beginning to match, even better, those of the private schools, which explains why they concentrated on destroying the more even "playing field", that experienced and expert educationalists had developed over many years.That`s why Labour should propose the repeal of all of Gove`s assessment reforms; coursework, modules, and resits should all be returned at once.
On the subject of private education, the exemption of school fees from VAT is an obvious target, if the suspicion that the Labour party favours the well-off more than the ordinary people is to be challenged. The bias universities show to applicants from private schools must be on Labour`s agenda too. With only 7%  being educated at private schools, the fact that some of the so-called 'top' universities have up to 50/60 of their undergraduates from the private sector is disgraceful, and will only change with bold legislation.How about a simple 7% cap for all universities on privately educated undergraduates?
Perhaps even more obvious is that the teaching profession is not in need of the patronising "TLC" approach of the new Education secretary, but, along with much needed  praise. Labour should be offering pay increases, and sensible pension provision. Working to the age of 68 is obviously wrong, as is the current 60 hour working week; parents and heads need to be told that teachers simply cannot be expected to mark every single piece of work the pupils do, or write innumerable lesson plans as well as termly reviews etc. Hunt`s teachers may have managed it, but class sizes and students` abilities and attitudes are somewhat different in the real world! Ofsted and Labour should be stressing how at least 90% of our state school teachers would have no trouble whatsoever teaching in a private school, instead of the obvious implications being made of the shadow secretary`s outbursts.It`s time to see whether his license should be renewed!

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