The government are right to be worried about our young people. What they are unable to grasp is that their own ideas and policies have helped us into the mess we find ourselves. The insistence on mechanistic rather than humane processes have reaped their reward of disaffected and unhappy children.
It is not only the children who are suffering though, the burden placed on teachers has meant that they have to deal with the paperwork, so where is the time for the child? I was trained as a teacher in the now reviled 1960’s with a diet of radical education writing. The Pedagogy of the Oppressed, School of Barbiana, Learning to Labour and – yes – de-schooling. None of that has darkened New Labour’s Tory hand-me-down policies. The intention of this new administration looks OK but the methods look suspiciously like more of the same, so the pressures on schools to cure the country’s ills looks like intensifying if anything. It won’t work Gordon. It won’t work Ed. Nor will it work in policing, in health or the prison service.
Second thoughts on privatisation are evident in some quarters, yet the path to the cliff edge is still being followed. You name it – Academies, NHS privatisations, Group 4 running prisons looking after very vulnerable people, including the young, including women. It won’t work in a 1,000 years or however long the planet can survive capitalism.
Tonight I’m going to my governor’s meeting at a small inner city primary school in the shadow of Winson Green’s overcrowded prison. The intake changes regularly, including children of refugees and travellers. Our funding depends on children who are there, but since they don’t stay – not because of the care they receive, which is truly remarkable – but because of the transient population. So we have a huge deficit. We struggle to provide the best for the children most in need of help. Are the government’s new ideas going to help us. Please show me how they will.