Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Tories Lay Out Tough Educational Attainment Targets

In an indirect way Michael Gove, Tory Education spokesperson, has shown a prejudice in the way the Tories view education. He has said:

"In the last year for which we have figures, of the 80,000 pupils who are eligible for free school meals, the very poorest, just 45 got to Oxford or Cambridge."

He went on to say that Labour had failed the poorest pupils as a result. But hang on I say. Is the hallowed spires of the oldest Universities the only real judge for their success and are Labour the only ones that can be blamed for that failure.

Compared to when I went to Kingston University, after not having free school meals, so I must really be a failure, less students travel far away from university. Indeed more are staying at home. One wonders why that is. No hang on I remember going on a rally as a student, a rally calling for grants not loans. Then protesting against the eventual introduction of tuition fees. The road to such ruin is Tory initiated.

But it is not really a failure to not get to Oxford or Cambridge. Academic attainment should be based on improving the chances of the students that are taught. My parents were both teachers, my Aunt* is quite senior in the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency. All of them working on the front line of education cared about improving the lot of all those students as best as they could.

Free school meals provision is a way to he that improvement, whether that leads to an engineering degree at somewhere like Brunel, or a more practical Economics degree at Kingston than that offered at Oxbridge, or a even just to attain a college place for a work related qualification.

I think Michael Gove has failed to understand the nature of education and fully encompassing all aspects of our universities, further education colleges and even just our schools achievements.

UPDATE: I got this reponse from the fake George Osborne on twitter.

* An update from my cousin regarding her mother, my Aunt:

"Of course, your Aunt, who is very senior at the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency would have been eligible for free school meals. But she never went to Oxbridge. She couldn't afford the flight to the interview. Or indeed a new coat."

Welcome to the "real world", Mr Gove.

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