Monday, January 08, 2007

Ruth Kelly Has Done What's Right for Her Child

I won't be calling for Ruth Kelly's head. Yesterday the Mail on Sunday revealed that a Cabinet Minister with connections to the Education Department was sending her child to a private school. Today the Daily Mirror has named Ruth Kelly as the cabinet Minister. She is paying £15,000 a year for her child to go to a school that apparently specialises in educating children with dyslexia.

This government has closed many special needs schools and slashed the resources from others in the mistaken belief that these children are better off being included in normal schools. That may be right for some, but not all.

I don't blame Ruth Kelly for doing what is best for her child. That's what any responsible parent would do. But she should answer this question: what would someone do if they didn't have the financial resources to pay £15,000 to a prep school? She would also have been wiser to have released this information herself. She must have known it would emerge in the end. These things always do.

So yes, on the face of it she's guilty of hypocrisy. But it's not a resigning issue.

96 comments:

Chris Carter said...

"Propesctive MP doesn't believe hypocrisy a resigning issue" - shock!

You are wrong - she should resign, maybe not as an MP, but certainly as a member of the government.

Anonymous said...

She is right to do what she has done

What will the Tory party do help less well off families do the same.
Lets get some real competition into education and give generous tax breaks to the less well off when they send their children to private schools.
Blair has conned everyone including the Tory party, They need to stand up for what they believe and be proud of it.

Anonymous said...

She should resign for being party to the closure of the special schools.

Man in a shed said...

Don't agree with you here Iain. Yes she's done the right thing for her child - my mother pulled me out of the state system at the age of 12 for much the same reasons. Any compassionate Conservative would do the same.

But she belongs to that continuing class war organisation the Labour party (which has discovered its best to no longer be open about its aims = NuLabour). Labour hates middle class kids and their pushy parents and their sharp elbows, but has become far too smart to say so openly. Hence it destroys effective standards, to allow it do undertake its social engineering agenda (see Postman Pat on R4 Today this morning).

She has two honourable courses of action available to her:
1) Resign the Labour whip (and of course Tony Blair's sofa club).
2) Pull her son out of the school she's paying for. (And I hope she doesn't).

If your going to destroy other peoples kids future's with the disastrous education policy of this government, then you have to accept your own children should suffer from your failed policies as much as everyone else's.

I actually like Ruth Kelly - perhaps she should defect to a party that understands her love for her children and doesn't hate the kids of the people who pay all the bills in this country.

chatterbox said...

I commend Ruth Kelly for putting her child first, and she is in the enviable position of being financial able to do so.
Should she resign, YES. She has been part of a government and previously actively involved in the department which has advocated a system of integrating children with special needs into mainstream schooling. Many parents are now denied this sort of choice for their own children, many of whom have even more severe problems.
I am sorry but to say that this is not a resigning issue when it is the most blatant example of "Do as I say not as I do" because I can afford it and you can't!

Voyager said...

She would also have been wiser to have released this information herself

but no Iain she obtained a Court Order to prevent it being made public and The Daily Mirror has defied the High Court Order and will defend it under Public Interest Defence.

I know Ruth Kelly worked on The Guardian and is schooled in Polly Toynbee hypocrisy and cant but Mrs Gadd who has form over Equitable Life when at The Treasury, should really consider whether she is not just another careerist on the make.

I wonder what her IRA Quartermaster grandfather would make of her elevation to the "Do as I say, don't do as I do" realms of the British Govt ?

Lady Finchely said...

Yes, she has but it is a shame that so many other parents don't have the same option.

What this Government has done in abolishing special needs schools and having a presumption towards mainstream education is nothing short of a disgrace. it has been to the detriment of so many young people and their families.

Michael Joslin said...

This is most definetly a resigning issue. Ruth Kelly has undermined the very core of Labour Party values - equality of opportunity - by deeming that the schools that she herself helped to run are not good enough for her son. I have blogged on the issue and as a Labour Party activist it makes me sick to see this. Ruth Kelly shame on you.

Voyager said...

by deeming that the schools that she herself helped to run are not good enough for her son.

Of course Tower Hamlets does have the highest Muslim population of any borough and 33% Bangladeshi so it is understandable that learning difficulties would be an issue

IanP said...

I wonder if it was to avoid the child fingerprinting going on in schools all over the country, as reporting on the NO2ID website.

http://www.no2id.net/news/newsblog/?p=511

John Reid said...

This is clearly a vote of no confidence in Gordon Brown's domestic focus on excellence, excellence, excellence in education.

Anonymous said...

Dyslexia is hardly uncommon is it. Special need? Pah. It's something she should be able to work with a few hours after-school tuition - unelss of course the schools are completely useless for all children, dyslexic or not.

She should resign, not because a £15k school beats a £5k state school, but because Labour denied poor families the opportunity to go to one when it scrapped the Assisted Places scheme in 1997, amid its usual class war rhetoric. It also denies families vouchers to top up the cost of state schools, and as education minister saw no conflict in placing far out of reach for others (the poor) what she gave to herself.

Anonymous said...

Those alleging hypcorisy are on pretty thing ground. Can one of them produce a statement from Ruth Kelly saying that either private schools should be closed or that parents should not send their children to them?

And, Iain, why should she have relased the information. She probably took the vuew, quite rightly that it was nobody elses business - and just because I am commenting on it does not prove otherwise - what interests the public insn't necessarily in the public interest.

And on your point about people not having the money - what exactly are you saying? Surely this is the very issue - people being able to pay for expensive private education do enjoy an unfair advantage - it is unfair because if we hold it to be self-evident that all are born equal and that is a good thing, why is it okay that they become unequal at the age of 5?

HF said...

So she receives a large salary for being education head and now "local govt" head sitting in the cabinet.

She takes part in policies that decide the number of specialist places and closes some schools.

She uses her enhanced salary from the cabinet to then fund an opt out for her child because she does not want to suffer the impact of those decisions.

The state should not be funding her ability to avoid the impact of decisions she takes/participates in.

That is why she should stand down from the cabinet.

Beachhutman said...

It's just good old Labour class envy. They seek to deny other parents the right to use their own resources to provide a better future for their kids, and they get truly pissed off when "one of them" realises this is unacceptable. What they forget of course is that as all Labour politicians are hypocrites, that won't stop the minister concerned trying to block off the option from other parents.

Anonymous said...

Hang on. She is no longer Education secretary. She is not exactly the toadiest of toadies although I really don't like her views on many things.

Those who dismiss dyslexia as a minor problem clearly have no knowledge of how damaging and problematic it can be. It's also not just Labour Councils that are cutting funding on special needs provision up and down the country. For example East Riding (that well known Labour stronghold - NOT!) has cut special needs provision massively.

Kelly is privileged in that she can do something most of us can't on 'normal' people's salaries - move her kid to the best place. She shouldn't be condemned for doing that. Give her a chance now to defy her party and speak out on special needs provision. Let's hope she now takes the opportunity to work with charities and uses her position to raise the profile of their education campaigns. How about contacting a few of them and getting them to lobby for her support for more funding in these areas. On the basis of her response then perhaps she could be judged.

Voyager said...

And on your point about people not having the money - what exactly are you saying?

That State Education is shaken up and down by political party ideology - that Labour imposed ballots to try and destroy State Grammar Schools - thatSpecial Schools are being closed against taxpayer wishes

That Diane Abbot spends £10.000pa on a private school; that Parr removed his son after 4 days in a Comprehensive and sent him to Manchester Grammar School

That ALL children should have the chance for an academic education based solely on ability and streamed and selected on criteria other than parental wallet or price of house

HF said...

Looks like someone is telling some porkies.

" Tower Hamlets education authority denied that it was unable to provide a suitable education.

The analysis of official inspection reports shows that 14 of the 20 primary schools in the minister's postcode provided services for children with special needs that education watchdog Ofsted said were "good". Six were described as "excellent" or "outstanding" in this area. "

"The local authority was this year awarded the highest possible grade for its education and children's social services by Ofsted and the Commission for Social Care Improvement."

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/article-23380838-details/Ruth+Kelly+named+as+Labour+minister+sending+a+child+to+private+school/article.do

wrinkled weasel said...

An education secretary who doesn't believe in the policies of her Government?

Do any of these criminals believe anything they do? Or have I missed the odd outbreak of sincerity?

Anonymous said...

Sarah Teather agrees with you too....

Anonymous said...

We need extra re-enforcement on the the politics show survey. Tony Benn is winning by less than 0.5%! We cant let Maggie loose to him!!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 12.50. What exactly does Sarah Teather agree with 'you' about?

Her experience of education comes from being in it. From education she went to a lobbying firm - a political lobbying firm. From there to westminster as an MP. So as I say she may agree but based on what experience?

Laurence Boyce said...

It's so silly this idea that ministers or MP's should send their children to state schools. You may as well insist that they drive an old banger of a car.

Hayek's Grandad said...

She shouldn't resign for doing the right thing for her child.

She should resign for making a mess of the state education system.

Urbis said...

Maybe Kelly shouldn't need to resign, but surely the Education Secretary and the rest of the government should be pretty humiliated!

Jonathan Sheppard said...

Iain I think you are right she has done what is right for her child. Will that mean that Labour politicians will stop criticising parents who may have to make bigger sacrifices than Ruth Kelly to do something similar - and more importantly - what about families who just dont have that option?

www.toryradio.com

jafo said...

Of course it is a resigning issue -not that I expect any Labour MP to understand the concept of hypocrisy or honour.

"She's done what is best for her child"

What about everyone else's children?

She was the Education Secretary, presiding over and promoting constantly on radio and TV Labour's allegedly wonderful much improved education system! So wonderful it isn't good enough for HER child, but super for us proles.

If this hadn't come out now, she'd STILL have been blathering on in her usual robotic fashion about how wonderful and much improved education is under Labour, whenever she got the chance, whilst failing to mention she had opted out for her own child as soon as she could.

Anonymous said...

She shouldn't resign, but as you say Iain, she should have announced her decision herself. Now it looks as if she is embarressed, which she probably is, although the education of one's child is a personal matter.

Perhaps she can now do some useful work in cabinet and push for all children with dyslexia to be given the education her child is getting now.

javelin said...

It was said on the Radio that the local education authority "agreed" with Rith Kelly. Agreed what?

That the school wasn't working - did her son even try the local school?

That the private school was better - obviously with one-one education?

Agree to fund the school place - what about the other parents?

Did her position carry weight with the local authority when agreeing to agree, whatever it did agree?

Iain - yes she does have the right to want what is best for her child - but she DOES NOT have the right to ask the public to vote for her as a Lbour Politician if she does.

Anonymous said...

I note that she said that the LEA had accepted "professional advice". Does that mean that she had to pay privately for her own expert report, which was then accepted by the LEA, or did the LEA initiate the process at no cost? The real problem here is the failure of LEAs and the NHS to properly diagnose educational difficulties. If Ms Kelly had to pay to get the expert advice, what about all those families who cannot afford to do this?

ian said...

Of course you don't think she should resign. Ruth Kelly is a liability, and as a Tory, your best interests are served by having her in the cabinet.

Anonymous said...

Kelly is just another two faced Socialist hypocrite, nothing new there.

Anonymous said...

What's the melborp?

Machiavelli's Understudy said...

It only serves to highlight the unacceptable quality of service provided by state education- not any notion of hypocrisy.

After all, would you send your child to a state school if you could afford to do otherwise?

Anonymous said...

I think its probably the best piece of news for every parent in a similar position. At last there is definitive proof that the LABOUR education policies ARE NOT WORKING.

Its not so much hypocrisy but more like an own goal or shooting oneself in the foot.

How are they going to convince parents similarly affected that they are doing a great job?

mirthios said...

Aren't we missing the point here?

The child has been taken out of a state school to be sent to a £15,000-a-year private school which specialises in preparing children with learning difficulties "for entry into elite public schools."

Not a resigning issue, of course - but then again, is anything?

ian said...

What's Tower Hamlets got to do with it anyway? I thought Mad Ruth was the MP for Bolton?

verity said...

Of course it is a resigning issue! Yes, she should do what is best for her child, obviously, but she provides everyone else's children with a garbage education. And her gang was the one who mainstreamed children with "special needs". She created the situation which now requires her to withdraw her child from a state school. Of course she should resign!

Also, she tried to hide all this by getting a court order to withhold the information. As someone said above, the Mirror defied the court order. Otherwise, we wouldn't know.

She's sneaky.

Also, lots of people have dyslexia in various forms and special tutoring after school would have served the same purpose. And let us not forget, Richard Branson and many successful people are dyslexic. I know at least one successful business person who is dyslexic.

Ronners said...

You are right Iain, this isn't a resigning issue. But it is breath taking the cheek of these people. I too have a child that is dyslexic. He goes to a fairly ordinary London primary, of the sort that is not good enough for Ms Kelly's child. I wouldn't send him away to a boarding school, even if I had the dosh (which I don't). I suppose the real difference between Ms Kelly and myself is that I didn't go to Westminster School, and so don't know really how disadvantaged my child will be by not going to a public school. Oh, that, and the fact that I believe in selection by academic ability, not ability to pay. BTW It wouldn't suprise me if all this dyslexia stuff is so much smoke and mirrors, more tired spin.

Helen said...

Apologies if someone has said it already but are we now (in the wake of Conservative support for Ruth Kelly's decision) going to see the Conservative (not Labour) Party reversing its decision to abandon vouchers? People who do not have money for private schools would also like to have choice in their children's education and many of us would like to see the dead hand of the state taken off it. Anything on that from the Tories?

verity said...

Ronners has a point I haven't seen mentioned elsewhere. The dyslexia thing could be ... well, not the whole truth. She may have decided that the bog standard education her child was getting, and the children her child was mixing with, simply weren't good enough. The "medical advice" and dyslexia may, as Ronners says, be smoke and mirrors, like everything else in this administration.

Anonymous said...

"I won't be calling for Ruth Kelly's head."

It wouldn't match your body iain. Now the other way round?!?

Actually Ruth Kelly is probably being over-cautious. Lots of local authorities are totally useless at providing suitable education for kids with dyslexia - and rightly have to cough up to pay the private schools. Kelly is apparently prepared to pay to cover a part of her political arse which is particularly unnecessary - unless of course you are an overpaid Labour minister about to embark on the chicken run to a safer seat?

Fighter4Freedom said...

Whether or not Ruth Kelly should resign from Cabinet is a decision for Ruth Kelly herself which she should make on her own ethical standards, in fact, just like the decision to send her child to a private sector school.
Of course, opting out of the state sector is a tacit admittance that the NuLab policy, to which she would have collective cabinet responsibility for, to integrate special needs children into mainstream education do not work. But then, anyone with half a brain in the real world knew that anyway.
This is yet another demonstration of just how corrupt the government of this once great country has become. What is really depressing and sad is that Cameron has the potential to keep NuLab in office by driving core voters to UKIP or worse.

Anonymous said...

" Tower Hamlets education authority denied that it was unable to provide a suitable education."

They always do - meangless twaddle.

"The analysis of official inspection reports shows that ... primary schools in the minister's postcode provided services for children with special needs that ... Ofsted said were "good". ... "excellent" or "outstanding" .... "

Also meaningless. You can be excellent at all sorts of other special needs and be totally useless (or not even try) with dyslexia.

antifrank said...

Iain, you're right on this one. I would regard it more as a resigning matter if Ruth Kelly believed that private education was very important for this child, that she could afford it and yet did not put the child into private education. Yes, it is an embarrassing testament to Labour's education record, but we don't live in a perfect world and in an imperfect world we all have to make choices from time to time between bad and worse.

David Lindsay said...

I'd be fascinated to hear of any Labour undertaking, ever, to abolish private schools. The endless internal debates are about the structure of the state system, which educates 97% of children, giving the lie to Man in a Shed's profoundly offensive suggestion that the parents of that tiny number "pay all the bills in this country" (in fact, they include as good as all the tax-dodgers, the super-rich having been made practically tax-exempt by the allegedly leftwing Gordon Brown), and also to the ludicrous, but astonishingly common, definition of private school pupils and their parents as "middle-class". The "middle" of what, exactly?

That said, only last month he Labour MP and former Aviation Minister, Karen Buck, withdrew her 13-year-old son in disgust from one of the Government's "flagship" City Academies (one, moreover, of which her husband is a governor).

Meanwhile, only the day before, the Government had announced that "Gifted and Talented" pupils would be able to buy "e-credits" for extra lessons in such things as Mandarin, and a programme run by NASA. Furthermore, since fully one third of schools have simply ignored the "Gifted and Talented" programme up to now, they are all now to be required to identify for this purpose the top ten per cent of their pupils in academic terms, a total of around 800,000 in the country as a whole.

So how about this for a wheeze? Each primary school's top ten (or, better, twenty or twenty-five) per cent of pupils, thus identified, might be admitted to a whole secondary school for children like them, where such lessons were an integral part of the curriculum, so that there was no need for "e-credits".

Heaven knows what we might call such an institution, but there are two reasons why none such will ever be set up. First, a national network of such schools would put most fee-paying schools out of business within ten years, and a lot of them well before that. And secondly, no such system could operate without powerful Local Education Authorities. Opponents of fee-paying schools, and supporters of LEAs, think on.

But also think on, those of you who insist on buying a pup by sending your children to schools which purport to offer exclusive access to the best universities. No university in this country admits even predominantly from the fee-paying sector. Not one. Is it time to call in the Serious Fraud Office?

Cynic said...

and myself is that I didn't go to Westminster School

I can assure you it is a great disadvantage..........having pressed my nose to the glass myself I can tell you that the cream in The City is still poured into saucers for PubSchoolBoy and they take it for granted that the BBC doesn't ask them to prove they sleep hea to toe paired off in bed.

Listen to Olly Letwin today with Redtop Neil - since Labour hasn't pledged to biff the private schools it's kosher for Mrs Gadd to send her sprog to a private school.............ergo Tories like Private Schools and the oiks can just put up with whatever gets dished out in the maintained sector

Dr.Doom said...

What would the old lady do if she hadn't the £5000 needed for the leg up the NHS waiting list, according to Dave's NHS election manifesto?

Trust a Tory? Lets see this October.

Doom.

Anonymous said...

Blairites like Kelly can always be trusted to do the Right thing.

Anonymous said...

"Most of the answers to life's problems turn out to be Conservative ones." M Thatcher

(pedants can correct the quote)

Londoner said...

That "special needs" are dealt with better in some private schools than most State schools should be no surprise, even if her local Borough is well rated. This is generally the case: most (certainly brighter) children would be better off in many (not all) private schools than in most, certainly inner city, State schools.

This argument would therefore be the same if her child was not dyslexic (if that is what the special need is).

That being the case, will the Govt please stop threatening private schools over things like their charitable status? (Some hope, particularly when Brown comes.)

And will the Conservative Party please re-examine mechanisms to widen the access to private schools by vouchers, assisted places schemes etc.? (Some hope, particularly under this leader.)

In fact, it's a pity that both parties' education policies are not as well founded as the decisions of Ruth Kelly, the Lord Chancellor, Diane Abbott etc over their own children's educution.

mark williams said...

You are right that Ruth Kelly should not resign for doing what is right for her child.

But as the most recent Education Secretary she is the very person responsible for the dire state of public education that has led to her choice to send her son to a fee-paying school.

Not a resigning matter, but one that should be held up as an example of Labour failure. Do we get that sort of coverage from the BBC? No, just a limp statement that she didn't ask her local authority for any financial assistance.

Ian Thorpe said...

Ruth Kelly has done the best thing for her child as any responsible parent would.
But as a former education minister how does she square it with serving in a Government whose policy has been to insist that children with physical disabilities and learning difficulties do better in mainstream education.
(Obviously the bullying and exclusion toughens them up.)
As usual one law for the party elite, another for the proleteriat. Well let's face it, you could not get much firther to the right than Stalinist Russia and that's the direction this showert are heading in.

AllBloodyTaken said...

Resign..? The nasty cow should be hung, drawn and quartered..! Along with Tone and the rest of this crappy crew of course..!

alan g said...

You can rant and gnash your teeth as much as you like; surely all of you realise that Nu Labour "don't do resignations".

billy said...

"I won't be calling for Ruth Kelly's head"

Well of course not! The rot in state education started with the Tories. There hasn't been anybody in the eduction department since Joseph who had any idea what they were doing.

buster said...

Dyslexia diagnosed by a professional?
Give a dyslexia professional £200 and you are certain to be dyslexic. They are hardly going to take money of you and say that everything is ok!

Umbongo said...

As David Cameron points out in his sterling defence of Ruth Kelly the Labour Party does not have the abolition of private schools as part of its manifesto. Since David Cameron has said this I suppose it must be true. Nevertheless, this government and the Labour Party (to both of which Ruth Kelly belongs) are always at great pains to rubbish private education itself and those who use it as simply the purchase (and purchasers) of privilege.

Then along come Ruth Kelly and Diane Abbott and others stating that their children are so precious (and, of course, they are, to Ms Kelly and Ms Abbott . . ) that the education policy forced down the throats of the general population by the present administration (with the approval of the "opposition") need not apply in their particular cases. Mr Cameron is fortunate that the state provision for his son is acceptable to him although I imagine he could well afford private facilities. However, that Mr Cameron's son is disabled and is well cared for by the state does not make Ms Kelly's hypocrisy any less egregious. If Mr Cameron's only response is to defend the hypocrisy of a senior member of this government (and, by extension, the government itself), God knows what he would be prepared to defend if, God forbid, he ever becomes PM.

hotpointblue said...

If Ruth Kelly wants to be a mother first and a politician second she should resign and look after her child properly. With regard to David Cameron's message of understanding and empathy - perhaps he should also consider his position because he is having sweet FA impact on New Labour in his role as leader of the opposition. If the people want another four more years of the New Labour / Old Communist party they'll stick with Brown on the basis of the devil you know. Mr Cameron is all bubbles and froth - he lacks a killer punch and his poor reaction and judgement to Miss Kelly's hypocritical actions have only reinforced this feeling among the general public. Ruth Kelly should resign and so should David Cameron - he lacks the balls to kill off the New Labour/ Old Communist Party.

Chuck Unsworth said...

Kelly's position therefore is that of preaching, of taking the money, but when it comes down to it 'doing what's right' for her child.

What sort of morality is that? Does she believe that everyone should do the same, or maybe only if it's 'right for them'?

If she wants an egalitarian society she should step down immediately, but will not - of course.

She has the moral fibre of an amoeba.

Anonymous said...

Ruth is of course (in Sandi Toksvig's words) the only cabinet member to have fathered four children. In making the decision to send a mildly impaired child to private school to receive a better education than the state sector can provide is of course the right decision. Hats off.

She should be applauded for saying in effect "Look, nine years of nuLab policy on Education, record spending, countless initiatives, and the state sector is still crap and can't meet the needs of the population who can't afford private education. We're rubbish and we know we are."

Keep it up, comrades!

AllBloodyTaken said...

Umbongo said: If Mr Cameron's only response is to defend the hypocrisy of a senior member of this government (and, by extension, the government itself), God knows what he would be prepared to defend if, God forbid, he ever becomes PM.

The fact is nothing will change with Cameron. He is nought but a Bliar clone.

Anonymous said...

It is and must always be a resigning issue for a Labour Minister - the Tories can sustain financial hypocrisy after all they are just looking after their own class but Labour has nothing without integrity and at the moment we have very little! But make no mistake the lessons of 1979 have been learned, we won't allow unprincipled ministers to bring us down and we will not be conned by the Tories again - 18 years of Tory rule was 18 years too many.

Anonymous said...

She should resign from her and she she should be expelled from her Party. This is the very worst kind of hypocrosy; a politician who has preached about the importance of integration into the mainstream who is using taxpayers money to buy her child a place outside the mainstream. She'd make a great Tory.

Anonymous said...

She's only doing what any mother would do, bleats Ruth Kelly.

What planet are you on, Ms Kelly? Few mothers have your over inflated salary, expenses and luxury perks to pay £15K school fees.

Double standards: Ruth Kelly closes special schools for us lot out here, yet makes sure her child gets one when it's needed.

What hypocrisy - it stinks as badly as Ms Kelly's housing expense claims for her non-existant mortgage.

She should resign.

Davina said...

I don't know if anybody else has mentioned this here, because I haven't read all the comments, but I wonder about Ruth Kelly sending her "dyslexic" child to a boarding school.

Why pack the child off just because of dyslexia. Or are we being told the child has dyslexia when there is actually a more serious problem.

Of course it is nobody's business what the child is suffering from, but the point I am making is that surely sending the child away from home is a bit much if all that is wrong is dyslexia, don't you think?

It all seems a bit odd to me.

David Lindsay said...

"Most of the answers to life's problems turn out to be Conservative ones." M Thatcher - so said anonymous at 4:40pm. Of course, the beuaty of that capital C is that it makes the sentence refer to whatever might happen to be the policy of the Conseravtive Party at the given time. A small c, by contrast, would not have applied to anything ever done, perhaps least of all in education, by GCSE Thatcher.

Is anyone going to answer my points that only a tiny percentage of children (sorry for mistyping it earlier - it's actually a whopping six per cent) actually attends fee-paying schools, that neither they nor their parents are "middle-class", that those parents in fact include almost (if almost) everyone who is effectively exempt from taxation, and that not one university admits predominantly from the fee-paying sector?

I also have another point for you to answer: that those schools cannot be that good if all they can show for it is doing so well in an exam system which, as I freely assert (and blame GCSE Thatcher for), is rubbish anyway. How good is an institution which merely happens to be particularly adept at securing academically questionable, or even worthless, certificates for its pupils? Can you answer that one?

Sir Alf said...

Ruth Kelly should resign for the same reason the whole government should. She is crap at her job and a socialist.

Getting a good usefull productive education does not mostly relie on the amount of other peoples money spent on it. Not even mostly on the quality of the teaching or indead the basic intelligence or ability of the child.

It relies more on the personal financial and spiritual motivation of the individual. Helped on by a positive learning family inviroment.

In modern Britain we have a break down in the family. Along with a tax, benifit and immigration policy designed to remove all finacial and spiritual motivation from any working class child unluky enough to have been born here with any.

The big problem is, it is working. Unlike many young perfectly fitt and intelligent British born working class people.

Therefore the whole government is responsible for this and have had 10 years and billions of extra tax payers cash to do something about it.

Why bother to work out how to run a country properly for the benifit of the kidds that live here, special needs or not. When it is far simpler, politicaly easier and cheaper to import motivated "skilled" tax paying workers from other 3rd world thinking countries?

The answer from Gordon Brown should be.

Good point. The dole que is the only place they are good for anyway and watching day time TV for the rest of their lives is their problem. Anyway the silly buggers keeps voteing for us , so why should we? Anycase, anyone that says any different is a racist so we and the our friends in the media can make sure they dont say anything the prolls can understand anyway....cant we?

Anonymous said...

The above post does show what a problem dyslexia is.

Anonymous said...

The Elephant in the room:

Is there a racist element contributing to her decision to pull her boy out of local schools and send him away to boarding school now that he is 9?

Anonymous said...

Yet another Nu Labour(EUssr) smokesceen and the so called independant press have bought it again.
As it was with Prescott it is the same with Kelly you blog about her old job whilst she is geting rid of democracy with unitary authorities that will answer to unelected regional assemblies,who inturn will answer to un elected commiesars in Brusselsgrad!

Anonymous said...

The services for parents of kids with SEN have improved. Despite the closures there has been an increase in kids with statements being in specialised facilities since the Tories left. And 5% of the statemented kids go to independent schools with state support. Ruth, bless, has saved the state the burden. Obviously as a socialist I'm agin it all. Selection. Privilege. Faith schools. Hypocrisy. Dave/id Cameron says Ruth is no hypocrite if LP are not up for abolishing private schools. But we bloody well should do that. It works better all round. But right now she's embarrassing without being much of a hypocrite. Dennis Healey paid for his old mum to go private and avoid Tory NHS queues. He argued that though he opposed the mixed economy that was what was available. And having the money he prefered to save his mum the pain while working for future equality.

Anonymous said...

I thought for years that I was dyslexic.

Looking at some of the above I now realise that I'm a pretty mild case.

verity said...

david lindsay - for a person posting as legally brain dead, you are doing OK. Not great, but we all recognise the disadvantage you are posting under. Being on life support with a big switch above your tubes that says ON/OFF, it cannot be easy.

realist said...

If Ruth Kelly is doing what is best for her children, why the bloody hell does she leave the other two, IN, the State system?

Voyager said...

What we should abolish is State Schools. How did they become nationalised ?

Once they were Local and Accountable but now they obey Whitehall Diktat.........they are simply sausage-factories fitting human meat into the same casings and spewing them out at the "Value" end of the freezer.

Time to abolish all State Schools

The Remittance Man said...

Iain,

I'm sorry to say, but like most commenters here, I must disagree with you. There is some serious hypocrisy going on here and it should be a resigning issue.

Either Ms Kelly believes in the system she has helped to create, in which case she should keep her son within that system. Or she has lost faith in the policy of her party and the government of which she is a member and should say so and then resign on the grounds of conscience.

To opt out of the system and then try and conceal her motives with mealy mouthed excuses that bear no examination simply marks her out as a hypocritical politician trying to have her cake and eat it.

She deserves all the criticism she is getting from the public and quite frankly she should be getting a shedload more from MP's (and wouldbe MP's). She's dragging their name through the mud and adding yet more to the public perception that they are simply a bunch of self centred careerists who care not one jot about the people they claim to represent.

Chris said...

>I won't be calling for Ruth Kelly's head.

Why does this remind me of the Wall Street Journal's 'bottom stories of the day' feature, which runs headlines like 'Sheehan criticizes Bush' and 'Nothing stolen in local house'?

Vienna Woods said...

My daughter was diagnosed as dyslexic shortly after she started school at 5 years. She went to a state school here in Vienna where the teacher was quite exceptional and she was able to help her overcome much of the problem, although it is still evident sometimes and she is now 16. Dyslexia in kids (and adults for that matter) is mainly to do with legostanic writing – i.e. back to front writing of letters. It’s nothing to do with learning ability and affects a great number of kids to a more or lesser degree. I don’t know what form of dyslexia Ruth Kelly’s child suffers from, but statistics would suggest the same as my child.

Although my daughter has attended private school since her 11th, year, the decision had nothing to do with dyslexia, but the local Grammar School standards which I didn’t appreciate. I have to say that most NuLabour politicians are hypocrites, wanting socialist policies for the rest of us while they enjoy the privileges which they regard as their right. Blair is a prime example of this.

Ruth Kelly has always been playing charades with the rest of us while existing in a right wing world of her own desires. She is reportedly a member of the right wing sect of the Roman Catholic Church, “Opus Dei”, which she doesn’t admit, stating it is a private matter, which hardly makes her a socialist except in name. Knowing this organisation as I do, I wouldn’t trust her to hold office in education or in any social sphere.

Vienna Woods said...

Research shows that Ruth Kelly was born in Ireland before moving to England where she attended Edgarley Hall - the prep school for Millfield School. She then went to the private girls school Sutton High School. She won a scholarship to the sixth-form of Westminster School to undertake her A-levels. She went on to The Queen's College, University of Oxford (where she read Philosophy, Politics and Economics) and then attended the Labour breeding school (London School of Economics).

Hardly an underprivileged background!

Voyager said...

Hardly an underprivileged background!

and her father was a Civil Servant as was Charles Clarke's and Patricia Hewitt's

Anonymous said...

man in a shed - learn to use the apostrophe !!!

Anonymous said...

verity - what is a 'garbage education'?

javelin said...

When good is not good enough

http://www.phoenix.towerhamlets.sch.uk/

Ofsted said ...

"Phoenix School is a very good school with a significant number of excellent features. There are no significant weaknesses in its provision for pupils. As a result, there are no key issues for the Governors to address".

Hom, hum. So what exactly are you saying Iain - no matter how good the state school your wouldn't send your kids there.

Richard Dale said...

I don't blame kelly for doing what is right for her child, but I do blame her for being in a government that is not doing right by other peopple's children. She has effectively admitted this by her actions, and that is why she should leave government.

Voyager said...

Labour's latest lunacy on Education

The rules also stop a school giving priority to pupils whose parents put it as their first choice.

New School Admissions Code !!!!


http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/6244099.stm

jeremy whine said...

"special needs" my arse. there's an elephant in the room that nobody is talking about on the mainstream media. Ruth Kelly is a devout Roman Catholic. So devout that she is rumoured to be a member of Opus Dei.

Tower Hamlets has a rather large Muslim population. Go figure why she went private.

"special needs" is spin spin spin...

The Remittance Man said...

Mr Whine,

I fear you are a little too harsh on Ms Kelly. Reportedly she has four children and only one is going to a private school. This makes me think that perhaps the poor child is indeed afflicted with some learning difficulty.

This does not, however, absolve her of the charge of hypocrisy. She and her chums set up the state system supposedly to serve everyone. Now she has obviously lost faith in it and she is demonstrating that she thinks it's there for everyone else.

Typical NuLabour elitist thinking.

Cllr Keith Standring said...

I do not support Ruth Kelly's politics, however, since I am a free-market, libertarian Conservative, I do support her right as a mother with means to send one of her children with special needs to a school outside the state system. The other 3 children are continuing education in state schools.

What's needed is good educational opportunities for all youngsters irrespective of their family background and wealth. I support the re-introduction of the Grammar School system. Sadly, only people like MP's have the means to have their children, even with special needs, educated in this way.

It's a sad person who won't strive to secure the best possible education for their children, especially if they have special needs.

verity said...

Anonymous 10:53 asks, Verity,what is "garbage education"?

I am surprised you haven't heard of it yet. Garbage Studies, an investigation into the history of garbage from earliest times to celebrity garbage today is predicted to overtake Media Studies as the most popular degree subject for pretentious young people with a sense of entitlement who don't have the mental wherewithal to handle a real discipline.

Cllr Keith Standring said...

Iain is correct in his posting. I certainly do not support Ruth Kelly's politics, however, since I am a free-market, libertarian Conservative, I do support her right as a mother with means to send one of her children with special needs to a school outside the state system. The other 3 children are continuing education in state schools.

What's needed is good educational opportunities for all youngsters irrespective of their family background and wealth. I support the re-introduction of the Grammar School system. Sadly, only people like MP's have the means to have their children, even with special needs, educated in this way.

It's a sad person who won't strive to secure the best possible education for their children, especially if they have special needs.

David Lindsay said...

Vienna Woods, in what sense is Opus Dei a right-wing sect? Ruth Kelly, a Labour Cabinet Minister after all, is the most prominent Opus Dei politician in the world today, and appears to be the only one, anywhere, at Cabinet level. The President of the Socialist International, António Guterres (UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and former PM of Portugal), has a long history in Opus Dei. Its ranks also include Squire Lance, Antonio Fontán, Paola Binetti, Llúis Foix, Mario Maiolo and Xavi Casajuana (if we count Catalan nationalism as part of the Left; it is certainly a very long way from Franco), among others.

Most of the Chilean "Chicago Boys" were not members of Opus Dei. Pinochet himself never had any affiliation with it. Of six right-wing Opus Dei politicians listed on Wikipedia, four are dead (one since 1966), whereas the three broad left-wingers listed (including two women) are all still alive.

So, insofar as it has a political orientation, Opus Dei’s would seem to be towards the Left, if anything. Much like the Catholic Church Herself, in fact. So much for being right-wing. Now, in what sense is it a sect?

Oh, and Voyager, it is Her Again whom you can blame for central government micro-management of schools: like Blair, she had a Howard Hughes-like fear of dirty local government, in her case because the only thing that she knew about it was that her father had been booted off it after more than 30 years. Like Blair, she could not get her ahead around the idea that local government is not an agency of central government; and so she tried to create a nationalised parallel education system (cf: Blair's City Academies, &c), among much else, in order to undermine it.

Vienna Woods said...

David Lindsay wrote,

..in what sense is Opus Dei a right-wing sect?

I evah deirt ot dnatsrednu uoy tuohtiw hcum sseccus.

I am a practicing Roman Catholic and like many others of my faith I have had several brushes with Opus Dei over the years which has scared me. They remind me of the Moonies with their mind control of young people and abuse of women. The one and only very ill judged decision by the late Pope John Paul, was to elevate Escrivas (founder of Opus Dei) to Sainthood with indecent haste.

If you really want to learn about the interference of this sect in government and other public institutions, have a look here… www.mond.at/opus.dei/ . Don’t worry, it’s in Englishlanguage.

Voyager said...

Letter in Daily Telegraph 10 Jan 2007

Sir – As a solicitor, I have acted in cases where in excess of 2,000 learning disabled children and adults have been adversely affected by government policy. My disabled child clients have not been fortunate enough to have a choice to go to an independent school, and their challenge to a special school closure did not get off the ground, because they were fighting the government policy of "integration".

I act for disabled children in mainstream schools who are punished for behaviour outside their control. The education of other children suffers when teaching staff have to direct attention away from the majority towards the needs of a vulnerable and needy child.

The parents of my clients were all reassured at their birth that the state would provide for them. While sympathising with her personal position and that of her innocent child, sadly the Government in which Miss Kelly is a minister has chosen to steal the care from my clients and spend it on war.

They call this policy "Fair Access to Care". This is double speak for "No Access to Care" for all falling below critical need.

I saved the learning disabled children's services in two counties, one Labour, one Conservative. I acted for 40 claimants, but got legal aid only for one. Continuing with the other 39, for whom the service formed the core of their sense of identity and self-worth, meant that only 1/40th of the cost of the case would be paid. Most had parents at risk of depression and suicide if service and respite were withdrawn. The case was lost because the local authority "is following government policy" and the other 39 learning disabled claimants have been ordered to pay the costs.

This is the future for the people whom Miss Kelly of all people, with her supporter David Cameron, should put their careers in jeopardy to fight for, rather than taking the Government's shilling and shielding their own.

Yvonne Hossack, Kettering, Northants



Some people have an economic penalty for daring to challenge the Almighty Government.

David Lindsay said...

Vienna Woods, how do you define:

1. "mind control of young people"?
2. "abuse of women"?
3. "indecent haste" where canonisation is concerned?
4. "interference in government and other public institutions"? and
5. a "sect"?

And you still haven't answered my point about the number of living left-leaning politicians in Opus Dei, compared to the number of dead (including long-dead) right-leaning ones.

There's a whole article on my blog entitled 'Opus Dei and the Left', which deals, among other things, with why people are so hostile to Opus Dei.

Alastair Murray said...

This would, on the face of it, be an opportune moment to say that it was laudable for Ms Kelly to take this action as it is clearly in the best interests of her child.

However, the resignation matter is somewhat different, “Should she resign ?… absolutely yes, no doubt about it”.

She is a minister of a governmental team that has completely failed in the adequate provision of either a special needs educational system nor indeed a cogent strategy.

What this governmental team (yes, I mean the team of the least credible PM of the last two centuries) has presided over is the “misrepresentation” of a laudable theory (inclusion) whilst in practise it has presided over the systematic dismantling of special needs educational provision within the UK.

I was very fortunate in having the opportunity to relocate to the United States in order to better address the learning needs of our Autistic son, however this comes at a heavy price to my family life (as I spend half my life on the other side of the globe earning a living) but it was one we (my American wife and I) realistically felt was the only option in light of the clear failure on the part of the UK system to deliver an adequate educational option for parents of special needs children.

We also spent the best part of £40k on providing an intensive (@ 6hrs a day) speech and language program for our child as an “offset” to the State’s one hour a week provision in Edinburgh.

Did we begrudge this investment in our child’s future? No, and neither would any parent in a position to do so, however the fact of the matter is that the UK’s “inclusion policy”, in the vast majority of cases, is neither adequately supported nor resourced.

The winners are the PR machines whilst the losers, invariably, are the families of those with special needs.

Clearly there are pockets (mostly within London) in the UK where some local authorities are addressing such educational special needs issues, strangely including the district where Ruth Kelly and her family have their home. Ruth Kelly’s (somewhat reluctant) de-facto statement is “this may well be the best State provision, it just isn’t good enough for me”.

So what clearer case can there be (for resignation) than one such as this, a minister for education withdrawing her child from one of the best (state sector) special needs programs in the UK as it is inadequate/inappropriate for her child.

Please, this is a pathetic admission of failure, and a clearer resignation issue could not be found.

I do not believe she is guilty of “hypocrisy”, she is doing the best for her child. She, and all her cabinet colleagues, are however “guilty” of being incompetent and thus, if they possessed one shred of decency, they should resign en-masse and bring their incompetence to the electorate.

They have failed on IRAQ (false intelligence, false rationale for the invasion), failed on the “war on terror” (with policies which clearly helped to create home grown bombers, whilst simultaneously dropping the BAE/Saudi corruption investigation), failed one of the most vulnerable sectors of society (special needs education).

What success have they had?