Paying for a decent education

neil_heavisides_acting_dean“Education, education, education” was the cri de coeur of Tony Blair when he became Prime Minister, and apparently the present Education Secretary’s battle with the educational establishment was inspired in part by the former leader.

The former Prime Minister, according to a recent article in The Times, warned him that there would be intense opposition to his plans but he must face it down.

I am sure we are all behind Mr. Gove in his desire to improve the standard of state education. Broadening the curricula to offer more structured after-school activities, plans to support non-specialist teachers in state schools to teach classics and other initiatives are to be encouraged. But when is a Secretary of State really going to listen to our head teachers in both primary and secondary schools when it comes to the fundamental resources that they need to do their work effectively?

Unfortunately, no government and maybe not enough people are prepared to pay for the obvious solution to our predicament. Every state primary and secondary school needs the pupil/teacher ratio that exists in our best independent schools. If we want our state schools to achieve the best for all children and young people we need to aim at around one teacher for every 15 pupils. Of course this is costly but so is everything that is of value.

It seems to me very sad that no Government is prepared to tell us, the people, that such a cost is worthwhile.

by Revd Canon Neil Heaviside, Precentor of Gloucester Cathedral

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