Yesterday The Sunday Times published a letter of mine. Perhaps they wanted to protect certain politicians from my anger so they left out the italicised sections. What do you think?
Rod Liddle was right yesterday; there are schools to which politicians are willing to send their children and there are schools for other people’s children. Shami Chakrabarti and Emily Thornberry now join the list of politicians who will not insist for the nation’s children the reasonable standards which they require for their own children.
I once met the head of the school to which Tony Blair would have sent his sons had he followed the advice that his party gives to parents. The man had once been a Labour Party supporter but was furious with Blair for demeaning his school by sending his boys across London to The Oratory. There, the governors explained at the time, their most important function was to interview the parents of prospective parents to ensure that they shared the same values and would support the school. This, they considered was key to the school’s success. Once the Blair boys had moved on, their father caved in to pressure from his left wing and banned the interviewing of parents as part of the admissions process in maintained schools.
A few years ago I listened to Dianne Abbot address a meeting as she sought to encourage parents to support state schools. She stood in front of her audience, clasping her hands together in embarrassment as she apologised for having sent her son to an independent school and going on the say that she just had to tell these state-school parents that her son had just been awarded twelve starred A-grades for his GCSEs.
Until politicians do a little more to enable all schools to expect and require more by way of support from parents, caring parents will continue to take steps to do what politicians do when it comes to finding schools for their children. If they can they will pay fees for independent school places. Others will employ tutors to help their children gain places in selective schools, or they will move or lie about their addresses in pursuit of places in church schools and other popular schools, and who will blame them.
And children whose parents are hostile to the disciplines required by effective schools, or indifferent to them, will remain at the bottom of the pile.