Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Osborne: Tories Will Prevent New Grammar Schools From Opening

I was under the mistaken illusion that the grammar school issue had been put to bed and that the party leadership wanted to close down the debatre. The Press Association has just disabused me of that notion...
Shadow Chancellor George Osborne risked stoking the bitter education row further
today by indicating that a Tory government would actively prevent new grammar
schools being opened. Mr Osborne insisted that countries in the "mainstream" of thinking on education - such as America - would not allow selective schools to appear. Pressed by a Conservative activist from Buckinghamshire on whether the party would permit them to open new grammars which had local support, Mr Osborne said: "We don't believe in schools choosing pupils. We believe in pupils choosing schools. "That is where the mainstream of the education debate is all around the world. You go to the United States, you go to other countries in Europe, that's what they are talking about. They wouldn't allow schools to emerge and take funding that had academic selection as a criterion for entry. That is the mainstream education debate in the rest of the world and we're suggesting that Britain and the Conservative party joins that mainstream debate. His comments were immediately attacked by former shadow Europe minister Graham Brady, who resigned yesterday in protest at the policy. Mr Brady - the first front-bencher to quit under David Cameron's leadership - said the Conservative position of keeping the 164 existing grammar schools but ruling out creating any more was "illogical". "This question highlights the illogicality of supporting popular selective systems but preventing them from expanding when parents want them to," the MP for Altrincham and West Sale said. "If population is growing in a selective Local Education Authority area, whether it's Buckinghamshire or Trafford, surely new grammar schools should be available.

Unless they have completely changed their secondary schooling system Germany operates an entirely academically based selection procedure to decide which pupils should go to a Gymnasium (Grammar School), Realschule or Hauptschule.

What on earth was George Osborne thinking of by giving this answer? I thought Conservatives believed in the freedom of parents to start new schools. We criticise Labour for having a £2 million barrier to entry, and yet we are seriously suggesting that we should prevent people opening schools in a format which has a fantastic record of academic excellence and promoting social mobility.

130 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Pressed by a Conservative activist from Buckinghamshire"

So it's got nothing to do with the leadership.

jean shaw said...

Does the Conservative front bench have a collective death wish

Anonymous said...

All George Osbourne was doing was reiterating the policy that has already been outlined.

This party is going insane over this issue. I'm having visions of Labour circa 1984.

Anonymous said...

"YES"!

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

Ye Gods! These people are losing the plot.

And now my radio tells me Cameron is being marketed as "the heir to Blair." I can't stand much more of this.

Anonymous said...

We looked forward to the end of Blairism only to be told that Eton Dave and his mates want to keep it going.
Mindless silver spoon.

Ed said...

Perhaps "one last heave" would have been more coherent after all?

Anonymous said...

TIME FOR THE SUITS BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE.
These overgrown schoolkids are now totally out of control.

Jonathan Sheppard said...

I do have a question if this is true. Where does it leave localism????

Anonymous said...

The only ones out of control are the grammar school lot who appear to have only just realised that their party hasn't supported grammar schools for 30 years.

Anonymous said...

I am with Cameron et al on this one. Grammar schools in my neck of the woods (N London) are highly selective. Only the most intelligent and/or highly motivated gain entry. So far, so good you may think. The problem is that one ethnic group dominates the entry. In my experience this is because these parents are 100% focussed on preparing their offspring for the admission process from their earliest years. In the case of one particular school (in Barnet) if you are white or black and from a 'normal' family background then, I would suggest, the chances of gaining entry are virtually zero. If this is the situation across the country and I suspect it is the case in many cities, then it is creating an educational schism in our society. Middle-aged men in politics who might hark back to their halcyon grammar school days really have very little idea about what is happening on the ground now.

Flavious said...

This is looking very much like a stupidity #101 "how to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory" to me.

Bad enough some of the the Shadow cabinet n00bs want to force some kind of bizzare clause 4 moment on the party.

We now are told in no uncertain terms that the man who is most reviled in the nations proud history is to be emulated by his heir in waiting.

I despair, truly I do.

Anonymous said...

"the man who is most reviled in the nations proud history "

Yeah, but he's not though, is he.

A recent poll for the Independent on his record showed that Iraq was the main black mark given to him, and that overall most people gave his time in office the thumbs up.

This is rather backed up by the fact that Labour's poll rating goes down relative to the Tories when it is made clear he is not the leader. Blair, for all his faults, still provides some pull for middle England which is what Brown is deperately trying to manufacture.

Henry Mayhew said...

What is wrong with a little competition based on aptitude, perhaps at the more reasonable age of 13?

Why shouldn't parents and children take pride in getting in somewhere tough? They will at 18.

The more interesting issue is how to develop technical and other schools as good as Germany's. I suspect making all schools self-governing, charitable institutions financed by vouchers and charitable giving is the way forward. I am sorry, but I just don't trust single geniuses like David Willets with this. The market will decide and supply much more efficiently.

Anonymous said...

Why not send Dave to canvass in Bolton.Dressed in his frock coat for good measure.

Anonymous said...

Only the intelligent get in! Thats the point.

Only the intelligent get an academic education. Fine. And those not academically motivated can learn vocational skills - which these days are more motivated.

What is wrong with this? Equality of outcome is not desirable!!!

Anonymous said...

Now if Grammar Schools could prevent George Osborne's mouth from opening, Cameron would be backing them to the hilt!

Anonymous said...

From the moment he ratted on his EPP pledge during the leadership race the writing was on the wall.

jilted john said...

What planet are these people on? The country is crying out for a change from the moronic policies of NuLabour, crying out for a return to traditional conservative values and these clowns keep coming up with Bliar clone rubbish.

A proper conservative policy on Europe, migration, education and safeguarding the NHS will see Cameron elected by a landslide. What is so difficult to understand about that?

Osbourne is a muppet of the first order, he cannot even take apart the fraudulent scam that is the gordon brown economy. When he has exposed the hidden debts of PFI, the largest budget defecit in Europe, the fact that taxes will have to keep rising as a result, the fact the entire economy is built on mountains debts and is about to implode he can start spouting about other matters

Anonymous said...

How is it fair for my child to be refused access to a good quality school on the basis of his failing a single exam?

Anonymous said...

I thought Osborne was supposed to be the Shadow Chancellor. What on earth is he doing straying into the area of the Shadow Education Secretary and making such pronouncements in advance of the policy commission? Will he now be sacked? I'm sure Cameron would wish to be consistent in enforcing party discipline.

Anonymous said...

What price all those hours spent on policy committees if polocies are announced in advance.
The boy is a disgrace-to Eton and the Tory Party.

tapestry said...

Osborne wants more trouble from Tory activists.

Governments have no business interfering in the rights of people to choose their own ways of educating their children. Osborne is wrong, and probably knows he is wrong.

But he doesn't care about that.

He just wants trouble - as much trouble as he can get - so the Front Bench look as pure socialist as it is possible to appear - so that Liberal Democrats will vote for them, and the devil within the soul of Conservative activists, is seen to be finally exorcised.

Now we need another Brady to resign his post, to keep the media pot boiling. Any takers?

Oluseun said...

Osborne is right. If the grammer school lot believe in academic selection, equality of opportunities and specialised education for those at both end of the IQ bell curve then they have to accept that this can only be achieved in the same school. Class streaming for all subjects is the answer.

I see no need for academic streaming via school instead. Streaming within the school and not via school allows uniformity in standards, background and ethnicity/religion etc across the country. Children do not need to selected by the religious affiliation, parent money or IQ into different schools.

For example, why do children of different academic ability need to separated by school when it comes to team sport, music and art.

Anonymous said...

Pauline Osbourne did not go to Eton but was I think a member of the Bullingdon at Oxford which IMO is worse.

Anonymous said...

"Governments have no business interfering in the rights of people to choose their own ways of educating their children."

So, get rid of the national curriculum, allow the establishment of madrassas etc etc?

Og said...

Until they simply stop taking questions on education, which is quite hard to do when voters rank it #1 or #2 area of concern in Britain, this Tory leadership is going to continue to fan the flames of the bonfire of its own making.

Brady is right - if you think up reasons to prevent opening new grammar schools, you undermine the reason for the existing 164 to continue. And if you ignore local demand for more grammar schools, you prevent "localism" and "choice", thereby breaking your pledge to the electorate.

This is incoherent, damaging to the party's electoral prospects and to schoolchildern in areas that would like to see more grammar places made available.

If Cameron wished to be heir to Blair he should have crossed the floor of the Commons in time to contest the Labour leadership election. He might have won it.

David Cameron's lapdog said...

Jilted John - Planet Cameron is which one.

Anyone know a decent moderate united party of the right?

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't a series of meetings around the country not give Dave the opportunity to explain himself fully to the Party membership thus ending the crisis.

G Eagle Esq said...

Sehr geEhrter Iain

Are Messrs Cameron and Osborne determined to lose the next General Election for the Conservatives

They seem to have this strange admiration for Mr Blair

Why don't they join the Labvour Party and leave the Conservtives free to choose a Real Conservative as their Leader

Why do the Words Davies and David spring to mind

Yr obedt servant etc

G Eagle

Curly said...

Whatever happened to the parents' freedom of choice? If they want selective schools so badly in their areas, who are we to say NO!

Vienna Woods said...

It's really hard to believe that just 2 days ago Graham Brady was castigated for giving his opinion on education based on his own hands on experiences. Today "Ollie" (Osborne)gives his ill advised opinion on his total absence of experience of grammar schools and appears to have the support (for the time being) of "Stanley - windmill on the roof, hoodie hugger extraordinaire, dick-head Cameron.

Why don't these pair of clowns listen to people for a change. Blair has been rough riding over public opinion for a decade now and people are sick of it. Secondly, Britain is currently presiding over an education system that has failed because of the comprehensive schools, but politicians refuse to accept this simple fact. I can't imagine how pupils with a good academic ability can learn amongst a class of badly behaved disruptive half wits, and that's the truth of the matter.

Oh yes, and before Osborne unilaterally opens his big uninformed mouth about other countries, I can confirm that it is true that Germany, Austria and Switzerland have selective schools as my daughter happens to attend one of them!

Anonymous said...

Christ on a bendy bus.

I was denied a Grammar school education and even I realise they cannot be revived.

Or do want the Tories in government to be involved a full scale war with the educational establishment, the leftish press and every parent whose child fails to get in?

Proper streaming is the best we can hope for....

Anonymous said...

Re "Why don't these pair of clowns listen to people for a change." Because they are arrogant and not interested. Their uber privileged backgrounds have ensured that.

Anonymous said...

Which Conservatives is "Boy George" talking about (BBC R4).When I last checked the membership of "Conservatives for Tone" was quite small.
Foot produced the longest suicide note.
Dave now wins the award for the shortest.

YHN said...

LoL. And to think that some of you still believe he is going to deliver his "delayed" EPP withdrawal pledge.

All those people who said "Vote UKIP get Labour" now find that actually voting Tory is now officially endorsed by the leadership as a vote for New Labour.

D'oh. You couldn't make it up.

Anonymous said...

If the Conservative Party is now on a course against selective schools, I suppose next week we will hear that all public schools are to close. They too are selective, sometimes the selection criteria is called money !

God, I am sounding like a communist !

Richard Allen said...

With respect Iain it is a bit rich for people like you who have fawned over Cameron & Co for the past 18 months to start asking questions like "What on earth was George Osborne thinking of by giving this answer?"

The party of which you remain a loyal member is no longer conservative in any way shape or form. You had better used to it.

Anonymous said...

And what about those poor Tory sods who have to knock on doors at the next general election.LIONS led by DONKEYS.

Andy D said...

Cameron + Co are starting to annoy me....this is a fight which never needed to have been started.

What is the Conservative education policy anyway?

glass house said...

As a Labour party memeber, may I welcome you all to the left.

You're all Socialists now!

Anonymous said...

andy d.Whatever you do don't ask the policy review committee

Anonymous said...

Come back David Davis, your party needs you!

Message to Cameron: We were dazzled by a 'not-so-improptu' performance, and now we are waking up to what you are really like.

You've been taken for a ride, like a lot of your generation, by the Green lobby - as if it is the most important thing in the world. Get real, the Greens have been hawking the environment for the last thirty years under the hope that eventually a sucker would come along - you did.

Braveheart said...

Tories must go back to school.
Must do better

They are archetyptal public school col Blimps imagine they ever got power.

Then again their incompetence at even running a bath far less the country would have bonnie Scotland happily independent in an instant

double edged sword

a homeless ex TORY said...

Call me Dave HAS to swerve left! It is the only way he can survive.
Why is this?
He (callmedave) knows the media he so badly needs to win a GE is now run and controlled by the leftists! They control the news because they control the journalists who decide what is news and what is not! The BBC is now a propaganda organ for the left! It does not even bother to pretend to be independant anymore!
The TORY party is dead and we all watched it die and did nothing! So where does an ex Tory go? Which political party will carry the old message forward? Because I would rather live under a socialist dictatorship than favour the NUCON with my vote.

PS I was denied a grammer place in 1974 even though I passed the mock exam with a high mark! (Cheers Ted Heath) so I was delivered into a sink secondary modern which gave me NO education and a chip on my shoulder for life.

Dave Bartlett said...

The Telegraph have a podcast by Toby Helm, their chief political correspondent, who points out that the conservatives have a good story to tell on education policy with their move towards vouchers. The Spectator has done a number of articles on voucher systems and the Telegraph's think local microsite is hosting the Direct Democracy/CPS paper on voucher systems with a localist twist - The Localist Papers 2: Neighbourhood Education.

Helen said...

Does this mean George Osborne believes in some kind of a voucher system? How else can parents and pupils choose which school they go to? Well, those that do not have the money for private education, that is.

Newmania said...

I am susprised at you Iain I begin to think you are bit too right wing for me . the point of Gramar schools is that they create Secondary Moderns wher 80% of children have to go . Conservativbe Party support forthem is basically Middleclass Parents wanting the 80% that are kept out to pay for a free Public school education .
Osbourne is right and so was Willets . I think you underestimate the party if you think they all so attached to this old war horse

Anonymous said...

Brady has a serious point about Grammar Schools raising standards in the locality. In my experience, co-operation with local schools - which works both ways - can have a beneficial effect. (I have served as a governor of a grammar school and an inner-city comprehensive.) One point apparently neglected is that size is important. Talking about streaming within schools ignores the fact that this normally entails large schools and therein lies a serious problem in terms of motivation and discipline.

What is the principle that determines that selection is acceptable in higher education but not in secondary education?

bebopper said...

Iain
What on earth are you doing, fanning the flames of this pointless argument?
No party is going to build new grammar schools, because it follows that three secondary mods will have to take in the "failures" who didn't get in.
Would you use the election slogan: "Bring back the Seconday Mods!"
Cameron has worked his arse off to get the Tories back into contention. Now, it seems you're happy to join diverse creeps like Tim Montgomerie, Paul Dacre, Amanda Platell, Andrew Alexander and Simon Heffer in blowing him off course for no good reason. Do you have a death wish for the party?

Iain Dale said...

bebopper, I don't think you'll find it is me that is fanning the flames....

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that IF the Conservatives win the next election it will be because Labour lose it. This being the case, policies are not really very important (as was, I think, the case for Labour in '97). Cameron just has to ensure that between now and the election he alienates as few voters as possible.

Banging on about Grammar schools (which in my area reject 19 out of 20 applicants) is not a good way to attract voters.

Furthermore, it seems to me that if the Conservatives win, they will be fire-fighting economic, social, military and policing problems for several years. Putting right what Labour has made so wrong. It is, frankly, pretty ridiculous to think that a major transformation of secondary education will appear anywhere on the new government's priority list.

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

Anonymous [5.41 PM] You say:

"'Governments have no business interfering in the rights of people to choose their own ways of educating their children.'"

"So, get rid of the national curriculum, allow the establishment of madrassas etc etc?"

Certainly!

A prohibition on opening schools which do not conform to the government's agenda is pure socialism.

Anonymous said...

What is all this talk of "building" new grammar schools?

Such a school can operate anywhere, in a mud hut if necessary. It is a matter of ethos, teaching, selective intake.

All that is required is to allow schools to change their status.

Anonymous said...

Iain, you are fanning the flames. No two ways about it. What on earth do you think Cameron meant when he said 'no new grammar schools' right after appointment? Enlighten us, please, as to what new thing Osborne has said this evening.

Or to quote Mr. Brady

"Although you made it clear when you became leader that you were not planning to introduce more grammar schools"

and to quote Cameron

"Two weeks ago you accepted that we should not continue to debate whether to introduce more grammar schools."

Erm - obviously it wasn't clear in some parts of the Tory blogosphere

Anonymous said...

Logic is no longer a factor.
They just don't trust him any more.
He's toast!

Anonymous said...

Ulrich Thöne, Chairman of the Gewerkschaft Erziehung und Wissenschaft (GEW) said, “Germany needs to correct its course. We must finally and seriously find a way towards a ‘school for all children.’ We need an integrated, inclusive school system that brings everyone along and fosters people individually.”

“A multi-streamed school system oriented towards the early screening of children is our main problem. In the past week, UN human rights inspector Vernor Muñoz rightly reprimanded Germany for discriminating against children from socially weak and migrant families, as well as for excluding children with disabilities, and suggested a scientific study of the correlation between disadvantage and the selective German school system. The example shows that the ‘Global Education campaign’ is not just an issue in so-called third world countries. Where the realisation of human rights in education is concerned in particular, Germany must look into its own affairs,” Thöne said.

Braveheart said...

the great thing about English education debates is that they take absolutely no cognisance of any research what so ever...
all opinion and bias

Tories can't run a bath as I said

Henry Mayhew said...

There's a difference between Mr Cameron introducing new grammar schools and local parents setting up a selective school (however one goes about doing that).

I admit that I support UKIP rather than the Tories and that this is a Tory issue at the moment, but it does worry me that an Etonian and his public school chums should make comprehensive-education only their "principled" mantra on education for 93% of the country.

That is Stalinism and I'm strongly against it. Most of their kids would go to private schools if they could afford it. They certainly did historically. Perhaps the current generation of Tory MP will be happy to have its kids beaten up in the local bog standard, but I doubt it.

Henry Mayhew said...

I should explain that the other 7% go to private schools I believe, and end up running the country. Mr C and the shadow cabinet are examples of them. Whether they themselves will actually run the country is open to question at the moment, but worrying.

chatterbox said...

So the tory blogsphere and certain MP's continue to hype this story up day after day and this leads journalists to question our front bench about it, if they answer these questions they are accused of stoking the story up or "briefing" against the colleagues who have openly questioned and briefed against their own shadow cabinet. With me so far?
Graham Brady should have resigned 2 weeks ago with dignity instead he has done the media tour to the detriment of his colleagues and left us with yet more days of unedifying bickering. He can go back to his constituents and leave his former colleagues to clean up the mess, but please don't then blame them for having to do so. There has been plenty of briefing and hints both on this site and ConHom to let us know where David Davis and Liam Fox stand so this is just a bit rich for me to swallow.

Anonymous said...

So now the parents can take their education voucher [sounds like the patient passport idea] and "spend" it at a local state school - no change.
The better off parents will add some money and send their kids to network of fee-paying schools which will of course multiply greatly.
That will ensure that the better schools will be used by the wealthier parents whilst the poorer schools will not be able to foster the abilities of special talents. A good outcome?
I am totally unable to see why selection on merit is bad. It happens in all walks of life - sport, art, writing, IT work, the Special Air Service etcetera. How could it be otherwise?
However, we can now see that Cameron's Shadow Cabinet is not selected on merit but mostly on school affiliations. As girls do not attend Eton I suppose he will have few women in his government if he is ever allowed to form one.
Of the 17 or 18 Old Etonians who have been Prime Ministers we find Lord North who lost the American colonies - Anthony Eden of Suez fame and his predecessor the mournful and destructive Harold MacMillan.
Cameron was doing well in the polls whilst he voiced no policies - it was better that way.
Victor

hatfield girl said...

A lot of the pressure for grammar schools is rooted in the pressures for examination and social skills results that yield entry to some universities.

A lottery for university places, freely enterable by all 16 year olds, would bring rapid improvements in numeracy, literacy and social skills acquisition in all schools.

Universities bear considerable responsibility, with their insoucient cherry picking of entrants who suit them, for what is happening in the scrum further down at school.

Anonymous said...

Sorry - slip of the pen. Wonder mac was, of course, the successor to Eden.
I was at Suez by the way.
Victor

Newmania said...

Iain you may not be fanning the flames (much) but the Press are determined to make more of this than there is . No wonder with the dearth of news . I think the comenmters have rightly sensed that there is much less to it than meets the eye. Some crushing letters in the Telegraph about Grammar school sentimentalists today and really its a non issue . noone is ever going to say " Bring Back Secondary Moderns" .Not now , not ever.
This subject is like a bore that keeps droning on when we all left the pub hours ago

Anonymous said...

Grammar school selection procedures these days are not what they were, it has to be said. One ruse is to send in an older/brighter relative to sit the exam. This became such a problem in the Midlands that candidates had to be photographed. Another ploy, for those without birth certificates (ie from some foreign parts), is to claim that a child is younger than its real age and go through primary school, secondary selection, GCSEs & As on this basis. Doubtless the child is none the wiser but I suspect it makes a hell of a difference to the results. Unfortunately, this is the world we live in and there is no use pretending otherwise.

Vol-in-Law said...

This whole thing is a disaster.
I think Conservatives were willing to put up with the reek of cultural Marxism at the top of the party for a long time, but this has been the final straw.

Madasafish said...

Only a small MINORITY of the population have been to grammar schools.


You would think from the debate half the UK is clamouring for grammar schools.

Why is the CP full of people who concentrate so much on interests dear to them which few oothers suuport?

Co they are similar to the Labour Left imo...

forthurst said...

Why do people assume that if 20% go to grammars, 80% must go to secondary moderns?

The problem with the old system was not the grammars, but the failure of LEAs to set up Technical schools for those who did not pass the 11+ but were by no means dunces where they could combine academic with vocational training.

Any attempt to reintroduce grammars should examine other alternative types of school as well based upon a modern assessment of the types of training and skills required in the modern workforce. Perhaps the City academy?

Its certainly pretty sickening when people have used a privileged education at a selective private school, some being more selective than the 11+, to get to where they are today, then denying that possibility to those with equal ability but poorer parents.

Anonymous said...

"How is it fair for my child to be refused access to a good quality school on the basis of his failing a single exam?"

Only the best deserve the best. Life is a bitch. Deal with it.

Anonymous said...

Osborne needs to stick to the economy.
He's still not credible on that never mind schools

homeless ex-con said...

Ha, ha, ha, ha ,ha ha, ha ,ha. Oh my sides are splitting over this one. I mean, what did you plonkers expect when you voted for pinko Dave?

Cinnamon said...

Can someone explain gently to me why a bunch of blokes who normally are a picky as hell over who is getting selected for the England team can be so ignorant when it comes to sorting kids into geeks and normal guys? Will you require an equal equality on the sports field in future, and start to campaign that we from now on select our national football/cricket/rugby teams fairly, without the slightest bit of any bias by random lottery amongst whoever happens to be on the voters list? ;)

Could be interesting :o)

frustrated tory said...

Had the Conservative Party chosen Ken Clarke for leader several years ago we would be in power by now.

Harlsbottom said...

forthurst is totally right. The selective system was never set up properly with an adequate number of technical schools - those which were set up tended to perform despite being starved of cash.
As for the apparent gap being filled by Academies, would someone here please tell me the difference between an Academy and a City Technology College as set up by the Tories (other than the obvious bias towards Technology as opposed to other subjects which could have been changed easily).

Ex Grammar said...

As someone said above this policy only holds water if you ban private education too.

Anonymous said...

'How is it fair for my child to be refused access to a good quality school on the basis of his failing a single exam?'

"Only the best deserve the best. Life is a bitch. Deal with it."

So if you aren't good enough you get left behind at a bad school, tough.
A rather cogent indication of why grammar schools will never be an election winning policy.

Anonymous said...

Most of the population can see the sense of a range of schools, some academically selective, some much less or not at all. The argument is not about restoring the grammar/sec mod divide of the 1950s.

Anonymous said...

Ex Grammar said...

As someone said above this policy only holds water if you ban private education too.

And faith schools, such as the one Cameron aims to send his daughter to.

Chris Paul said...

The £2M "barrier to entry" releases say £30M of Public Capital. Kinda like buying a house and putting a deposit down. Are Tories going to ban deposits on houses and other large commitments?

As for the rest Tories are in a right old mess on all this. There are more likely to be selective schools (on top of the "by aptitude" ones) from New Labour than from New Tories despite the leftward shift old George "crackers" Osbourne discerns.

Mores the pity. And where is McCavity McCameron this week? Is he considering his position or making some point of sending out his boy to bate the grown Brown?

Well, do you know what? Osbourne is cocking it up good style.

Tone made me do it - he's a bad influence said...

Bullshit baffles brains.

Etonian bullshit gives the BBC tongue and gets the Socialists elected.

Anonymous said...

the problem is trhat we have cameron (eton), his chief adviser llewellyn (eton) his campaign director Bridges (eton) and his chief policy advisor letwin (eton) sitting together and believing that from their privilaged background they understand how us normal mortals tick. cant work!!!

Cinnamon said...

"So if you aren't good enough you get left behind at a bad school, tough.
A rather cogent indication of why grammar schools will never be an election winning policy."

Grammar school is HARD work, even for those for whom learning comes very easy. Be grateful if you get spared by failing the exam, and don't think of yourself as 'left behind'.

And where do you get the idea that anything but a grammar school has to be a bad school... what makes the normal school bad in your eyes?

And what kind of crazy nation decides that the few gifted children they have are public enemy Nr.1 to the point of causing the Tory party to maul itself over the issue?

(Cinnamon mutters something about 'Die spinnen, die Englaender'... and about it being painfully obvious that selection by ability is badly needed in this country...)

Dave Bartlett said...

The school voucher model, which has proven itself in practice abroad, is yet another validation of market economics.

In Mr Osborne's speech he has the useful summery of 'parents choosing schools', rather than 'schools choosing parents'.

Forcing schools to compete on quality by giving the market power to parents/pupils seems a splendid argument against schools being able to choose pupils.

Anonymous said...

Osborne also said of Brown "He's the only man, apart from close members of my family, who has hung up the phone on me."

Maybe Brown's not all bad ;-)

tapestry said...

The policy should not be freedom for parents with vouchers to move schools combined with compulsion on schools to accept, with selection policy imposed by government.

The freedom granted to parents should be matched with equivalent freedom granted to schools to run themselves as they see fit, not according to the requirements of posturing politicians.

Only if the two parties to the educational contract, the parents and the schools, are set free will the benefits flow to the children.

The only problem is that government has put itself in the way of what would naturally occur when those two parties desire the same outcome - well educated children. Governments have agendas which do not include high standards of education, such as appearing to follow correct political dogmas. Answer must be to get rid of politicians and legislators from the process entirely.

Anonymous said...

One can't help wondering if Dave and his Eton team at CCHQ have taken anything which has damaged their collective thinking.

Cynical Voter said...

Do the Conservatives need more time in Opposition ? They seem to have learned nothing about winning elections and have a very superficial grasp of what is happening on the ground - especially Osborne who has no understanding of GP Commissioning Groups which are more sophisticated than his old ideas of GP Fundholding.......

In fact the Conservatives seem to serve heated-up leftovers hoping noone will notice they have no policies apart from something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue"

Cynical Voter said...

'How is it fair for my father to be refused access to a good quality seat on the basis of his failing a single exam?'


That son is the way elections work - some get chosen and others don't get to ride the life-changing Westminster Gravy Train

Cynical Voter said...

'How is it fair for my father to be refused access to a good quality seat on the basis of his failing a single exam?'


That son is the way elections work - some get chosen and others don't get to ride the life-changing Westminster Gravy Train

Man in a shed said...

Welcome to the nightmare Iain. I suspect you joined the rest of us in private a while ago - but were just hoping against hope that the party was not really bent on this course of cannibalism.

It seems Team Cameron want this. They must have great polling data and no principles or scruples left.

Sociocentric sounds a lot like socialism to me - only we can now be sure they don't believe in that either - just whatever will fool Lib Dem voters. Part of the smoke and mirrors effort is achieved by poking your own loyal supporters in the eye with a sharp stick.

Harlsbottom said...

'How is it fair for my child to be refused access to a good quality school on the basis of his failing a single exam?'

In the hundreds of comments I've read on the grammar school issue, why has nobody pointed out that selection would be fairer of the standard of primary schools was better? If you send your child to a decent primary school and then they fail the 11+, then it's not the system that has failed.

Send them to a poor primary school, and such things exist, THEN selection becomes unfair. Is it me or am I barking up the wrong tree?

Anonymous said...

Shed. I suspect the last poke in the eye was a poke too far.
If policy committee's are being treated the way they are what point is there in attending conference.Or is the plan to close that down as well?
Round one to the Eton boys on points-however this one will go the full fifteen!
Chin chin.

Simon Chapman said...

I am delighted that the party leadership is now looking seriously at the principles of vouchers even if they won't use the "v" word.

However I am afraid that this new mantra "We don't believe in schools choosing pupils. We believe in pupils choosing schools" is simplistic nonsense that will unravel at some point.

Inevitably there will always be some schools that are over-subscribed. In those circumstances there must be a mechanism to enable schools to choose their pupils. That can be done by proximity to the school (house price selection), ethnicity, academically, or by various other criteria, but it still means that those schools will select their pupils.

In terms of personal behaviour, by their deeds ye shall know them: very many (all?) private secondary schools use an exam to select theirn pupils. Anyone sending their children to such a school is by that action endorsing the idea that schools can select their pupils. Osborne is not at this stage in life yet. But many of his colleagues are. As Matthew d'Ancoma wrote at the weekend there is something very distasteful about those who would deny academic selection to the state sector whilst endorsing it for thir own children in the private sector.

Geoffrey G Brooking said...

I am with David Cameron, David Willetts and George Osborne all the way on this one.

As times change so should the Conservative Party.

Ben Bow said...

Osborne is increasingly being shown to be an arrogant minor public school snob, trying to keep in with the OE's. Witness the way he guffawed and smirked his way through the encounter with that gentle 100 yrs old woman on TV when she tried to make her point by < stealing > his watch during the ZIMMERS programme? Grinning chillingly, he demanded she return it. His philosophy? Kruschev's < What's mine is mine. What's your's is negotiable.> Contrast Peter Bottomley, a gentleman, who smiled, listened to her, and told her to keep the watch if that's what she needed. ( She returned it ) Osborne, Cameron, et al, cold fish to a man, are NOT what this country needs.
I bet the word Philanthropist isn't even in their Bluespeak vocabulary. Come the revolution they will be the first on the tumbrills.

jafo said...

The grammars aren't quite as selective as Eton, though, are they?

Cameron and Osborne seem quite happy for some types of selection to continue - and I'm not a Labour supporter!

Anonymous said...

We need another ten years of Blairism and Dave and his team are the people to deliver it.
Forget the Tory membership-they don't matter any more.

TomTom said...

Geoffrey G Brooking said...

I am with David Cameron, David Willetts and George Osborne all the way on this one.

As times change so should the Conservative Party.

May 31, 2007 10:20 AM





Geoffrey you did not get elected in Lincoln did you ? The Liberal Democats and Labour both beat you ?

Did you think it might have been cleverer to copy their programme and advocate Liberal Democrat and Labour policies so voters could see what a delightful chap you were and elect you to implement the policies that appealed to them ?

Was this a major error on your part ?

Anonymous said...

State education is a state service. It is paid for by all (in theory) and should be given equally to all. It should not be rationed or competed for, any more than health, policing, council or fire services should be.

Private sector education exists outside of the state system. If people choose to use that service, it is up to them.

The Grammar schools should never have existed within a state education system (and I went to one, a long time ago, if that is in any way relevant). They create unfairness and resentment. They also, I believe, can and often do create an ugly, meritocratic, superior mentality amongst ex grammarians (eg. Michael Howard's 'This grammar school boy ....' statement). Streaming in a good comprehensive school environment should be able to deliver the same results that the grammar schools currently produce by 'creaming off' the most academically able at 11.

Rather than go on about (vote losing) grammar schools, the Conservatives should look more closely at what is going on in the state schools. These are bastions of restrictive practice where teachers use every trick they can conceive to inflate their (apparent) productivity figures. Compare extra-curricular activities at state secondary schools with what is on offer in the private sector. This is where the state is failing, in my opinion. And the fault is with the teaching profession not the pupils!

Cynical Voter said...

State education is a state service. It is paid for by all (in theory

I don't want to pay for them !

Taxpayer said...

and should be given equally to all.

logically it should only be funded by User Fees, or failing that a Poll Tax, but not through any form of progressive income taxation

Anonymous said...

Iain,

Surely you and others cannot stand idly by and allow this cabal of Eton public school (and others) tear this Tory party apart?

There is a serious need for a revolt of true tories and a cull of these people who would be better off in Ming's little party or crossing the floor to the Labour shower.

I and many of my ilk will never lift a finger to help the Tories whilst LibDave is the leader.

We are now, effectively, a one party state. Perhaps that is their ambition.

Anonymous said...

Why didn't the Conservative Party choose David Davis instead of this vacuous ass Dave? Is it now too late? There MUST be some way, or the Party is heading for disaster, and the country with it.

Neil craig said...

"You go to the United States, you go to other countries in Europe, that's what they are talking about. They wouldn't allow schools to emerge and take funding that had academic selection as a criterion for entry. That is the mainstream education debate in the rest of the world and we're suggesting that Britain and the Conservative party joins that mainstream debate."

That shows what a blinkered view of the "world" we have. It may be that "expert" opinion in the EU & Europe is, generally, this way but the world is a big place & the fastest rising countires are a different matter. This applies in many fields & we should seek the fastest rising countries in the world as a model not limiting ourselves to following G8.

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

What is the objective of state education? As a Tory, I answer, "The pursuit of excellence, by whatever means are best calculated to achieve it."

If your objective is "Fairness" or "Equality" or "To win the next election" you are in danger of taking your eye off the ball.

Anonymous said...

Trumpeter,

The pursuit of excellence should not be the objective of state education. In the same way that the goal of the NHS is not to achieve perfect health for everyone in the UK.

We should seek to achieve the standard of education that young people will need to join the workforce or progress to University, ie the 'core skills' - academic, social & personal (eg health, positive outlook). As we are nowhere near achieving this - given the need for massive immigration to do the jobs we cannot/will not do - I would say that the state education system still has some way to go before it looks beyond delivering these 'core skills'.

TomTom said...

The pursuit of excellence should not be the objective of state education. In the same way that the goal of the NHS is not to achieve perfect health for everyone in the UK.

Bullsh@t.

The objectives of the NHS are the HIGHEST outcomes in health provision and the MOST PROFESSIONAL training of the nation's doctors and nurses.

Anyone who writes as the lates anonymous does needs psychiatric care.

The highest possible standards in ALL public provision are the basis of our history. We have never subscribed to the American attitude of third-rate product for tax dollars.

This country had a strong public ethos of quality and duty; it may suit some people to debase it, but it suits very few voters

Anonymous said...

The difference between selection at University and selection at Secondary Schools is of course, the age. No child at 11 years old will know exactly what going to this or that school could mean for his future. It isn't fair to burden a child so young. My ability at 18 and at 11 was completely different. Many children go from being top of the class at primary school to being simply 'middling' at secondary and sixth form. The opposite happens too. In school streaming is the answer because in this way performance in class will be recognised and the child can be moved up or down in 'sets' accordingly.

Andy D said...

The problem is that Cameron and Co are spending too much time talking about what they don't beleive in...

and not enough talking about what they do...

Anonymous said...

Tomtom,

The pursuit of excellence or highest outcomes is open-ended. It is not affordable. And it plays into the hands of self-serving 'professionals'. Look where we have got to now in terms of public health and education if you have doubts. Society can only afford what is good for society, not what individuals demand or what public sector workers think they deserve!

Anonymous said...

Now Dave appoints from "News of the Screws" Whatever next? How many people turned down the job---to the nearest thirty will do!

Anonymous said...

Dominic Grieve-Another QUALITY MP.
Round two underway.
Chin chin.

Vienna Woods said...

anonymous 7.15 wrote,

.....In the past week, UN human rights inspector Vernor Muñoz rightly reprimanded Germany for discriminating against children from socially weak and migrant families, as well as for excluding children with disabilities, and suggested a scientific study of the correlation between disadvantage and the selective German school system....

Ah yes but Münoz didn't "rightly" reprimand Germany and has since been made to look a complete idiot. The whole thing was an exercise of political correctness and Münoz expected that the group of "disadvantaged" pupils should have received compensatory weighting to allow them to achieve a standard that would make them not feel discriminated against. This is exactly the type of situation to avoid. Mixing pupils of completely diverse abilities in an educational unit does NOT work.

Out here in Austria selection criteria for Gymnasium (Grammar School) is evaluated over several years before the child reaches 11 years. I know of parents whose children have not reached the required standard, demand a place at Gymnasium, which is sometimes granted in borderline cases. More often than not, the poor kids can't keep up with the work and are forced to repeat a year, which only damages them psychologically, turning them into a damned nuisance in class. In other cases they are relocated to the Hauptschule (Secondary school) that they should have gone to in the first place. Both situations are bad for the child and the fault usually lies with over ambitious parents rather than the educational system.

The recent Blair UK trick of reducing the pass level at all educational establishments to make it appear that the educational system is working under NuLab is nothing short of scandalous.

Jeremy Jacobs said...

Iain, This issue could cost the Conservatives an election victory.

Anonymous said...

Vienna Woods has an excellent idea - those in favour of selective education should move to Austria!

Anonymous said...

JJ-no good telling Iain-TELL DAVE!

The Remittance Man said...

And Germany's not the only country. Finland splits kids into streams directing them into either Upper Secondary or Trade schools albeit at the age of 16.

Only student at the Upper Second Schools get to sit the matriculation exam which is the passport to university. Matriculants get to wear a white hat every May Day proclaiming their acheivement.

Finland generally comes out at or very near the top of every international survey on education standards.

Anonymous said...

News of the Screws-did Hiltons squeeze have,as they say,"a hand" in this appointment.

David Lindsay said...

Congratulations to George Osborne on making it into the Shadow Cabinet when he is only Saint Paul's and his father is in trade. On those twin grounds, he was very nearly kept out of the Bullingdon Club. And then where would be?

Osborne has guaranteed that, regardless of the outcome of the next General Election, there will be the continuation of such massively popular and spectacularly successful policies as the Iraq War, the impending Iran War, the Public-Private "Partnerships", the Private Finance Initiative, the deliberate and systematic reduction in the incomes of the poorest fifth of the population since 1997, the same amount of unemployment as in 1997, the systematic importation of a new working class of non-unionised non-English-speakers, the employment of fully one fifteenth of the entire population in domestic service, identity cards, Control Orders, mass surveillance by CCTV, ninety-day detention without charge (not trial, charge), the welcoming into the government of Northern Ireland of people who believe the Provisional Army Council of the IRA to be the sovereign body throughout Ireland, and the "renewal" of Trident while our troops are sent into battle armed with little more than conkers on strings. To name but a few.

Furthermore, the Tories are not only going to hold fast to each and every one of these, and all the other, policies that have resulted in Britain's enormous voter turnout, and in the huge, and hugely active, membership of political parties in this country. Unlike Labour, the Tories are also going to close even those grammar schools which still exist, the only policy difference between the two parties.

Anyone who disagrees with any one or more of the above policies should leave the existing parties, never so much as vote for them again (at least where Parliament is concerned), and be working to ensure the election of morally and intellectually serious politicians instead. In fact, feel free to contact me about this: davidaslindsay@hotmail.com

Scoop said...

Finland generally comes out at or very near the top of every international survey on education standards.

I hear they have some gorgeous looking women too.....is that true ?

TomTom said...

UN human rights inspector Vernor Muñoz......actually it is one of those "Rapporteur" jobs reserved for retiring UN Apparatchiki and is in the gift of the Secretary-General to reward "service"

Munoz is from Costa Rica renowned worldwide for the superiority of its education system over Germany.....

He spent 10 whole days examining Germany's failing system....he objected to the lack of Central Control of Education and the power of the regions over Education

Oh and kingdergarten weren't free of charge


He wanted selection abolished and schools integrated.......now Costa Rica has all of 4 million people whereas Nordrheinwestfalen has 17 million


He spent one whole day on Bavaria's excellent school system

but if you have the template it doesn't take long to fill in the blanks

Germany's education system simply suffers from lack of competition and mediocrity

molesworth 1 said...

...and a mere 36 huors later, the subjekt of this post is the lead debate on newsnight, in a querrulous debate between, 2-branes, hitchens 1 , & some pin-striped anonymity. tory in-fighting at its very best.

my grate freind peason tell me i will be able to download a vodcast of this for future ref. but i repli that the thort alone make me quake in fear - chis, chiz..

Anonymous said...

As the leader say, there's no point in discussing this issue: times have moved on - academies are so obviously the progressive way forward.

While we're at it, let's all agree that this country should have 75%+ of its laws made in Brussels. Some might want to argue about this too, but what for? We know that a nation governing itself is just harking back.

Man in a shed said...

No Mr Osborne - you won't.

Cynical Voter said...

Osborne should have said "Tories will make party unelectable". That is a pledge he can deliver and is being remarkably successful.

Even a disintegrating Labour Government fills conservatives with fear of responsibility so they have to turn on their own voters to keep Labour looking the best option......then Letwin can stay at Rothschilds, Hague can make money, Dave can do his flower-show job and promote his wife's business.......


The Conservative Party is a social even not a political party; it works for Home Counties insiders and despises voters...

Sean Lynch said...

Iain, this is a disastrous, self destructive policy proposed by the leadership, no matter how they try to present this it is simply unjustfiable. As Graham Brady quite rightly pointed out, all the evidence points to the contrary. It just means that only the rich can get a decent education, what is happening to this Party? It is turning into Blue Labour, if DC is a socialist perhaps he should just join the Labour Party and try to become their leader. These are very worrying times for the vast majority of decent true blue Conservatives!

three-brains said...

Watching 'two-brains' getting a pasting about this issue from Jon Snow on C4 news last night was very amusing.

Bradford said...

As Graham Brady quite rightly pointed out, all the evidence points to the contrary.

West Yorkshire - Bradford Schools 133rd out of 148 nationwide

North Yorkshire Schools - 12th nationwide


Bradford is 100% Comprehensive - North Yorkshire has Grammar Schools

Anonymous said...

"David Lindsay said...
Congratulations to George Osborne on making it into the Shadow Cabinet when he is only Saint Paul's and his father is in trade. On those twin grounds, he was very nearly kept out of the Bullingdon Club. And then where would be?"

banal twiddle twaddle - typical tory tosh