25 Nov

Bad karma

We can always rely on the Labour party to come up with plenty of creative thinking. Here’s today’s dollop…

Britain’s private schools will lose £700m in tax breaks unless they agree to break down the “corrosive divide of privilege” and do more to help children from state schools, according to Tristram Hunt, shadow education secretary.

His logic is impeccable. It is as if I should argue that the local first class butcher should be fined unless he agrees to assist the filthy tripe shop on the next street.

On the department of education’s own admission, 43% of children leave state education, after eleven years of compulsory and expensive schooling, unable to read, write and count efficiently.

I taught for years in a bog standard comprehensive as a head of department and I know that state schooling resembles that filthy tripe shop. Half the teachers were themselves in need of remedial education. One maths master required every Monday morning the assistance of the PE man to add up his pupils’ dinner money. An RE teacher in my department thought that one of the gospels was written in the Middle Ages – by St Paul. An English teacher spoke of something as “mitigating against.”

Parents send their children to fee paying schools in order to escape a state system, so awful it amounts to child abuse. Moreover, most of these parents are not Russian oligarchs or wealthy coves such as Dave Cameron, and they scrimp and save, denying themselves and their families many of the good things in life, so desperate are they to avoid having to send their children to the state school dumps. And this payment off fees is over and above the extortionate amount they have already paid in taxes to support the useless comprehensives.

There be two sacred cows: the NHS and state education. Both receive more and more of taxpayers’ money as the years go by. And the result is that they relentlessly get worse. This is because state education and socialised medicine have grown so monstrously large and so overwhelming bureaucratised that they no longer exists for those they were set up to serve but for the hordes of highly unionised and politicised “professionals” who manage them.

I mentioned sacred cows and the phrase makes me think of bad karma. And that’s what state education is: “on a board untrue with a twisted cue and elliptical billiard balls.”