Saturday, 24 January 2015

Militarisation of education

It`s not just the "ongoing militarisation of education" which is extremely worrying, but the misguided assumption that state education is somehow inferior to that provided by the private sector, because of a failure to develop "character" and "resilience". (Ready for action: veterans bringing military ethos to schools,22/01/15) Anyone with knowledge and experience of state schools knows that state pupils constantly display the ability to bounce back from setbacks. How often have they had to show resilence in the face of assessment "goalposts" being frequently moved, and their excellent examination results being crticised and challenged by politicians from all parties? Then there`s the Education Maintenance Allowance being removed, 6th form courses being dropped because of lack of government funding, university fees being hiked, and the ever-present preference shown by the so-called top universities for students from the private sector, despite empirical evidence showing how state-educated undergraduates do better at university than students educated at "schools of character", with similar A-level grades.
      They do not lack the courage to continue after being knocked back, and politicians who think otherwise, and sadly this includes Labour`s shadow secretary of state for education, need to pander less to their prejudices; they should spend more time in state schools, and not in the heads` studies, or government meetings either, but in the classrooms.
      What`s happening at St Aloysius in Liverpool looks harmless enough, but the introduction of a "military ethos" into schools on such a dubious premise is not only typical of all educational reforms introduced by this most duplicitous of governments, it is dangerous, especially if allowed to develop and grow under the next government. Some pre-election reassurance on the matter from Labour would be welcome!


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