Political footnote

I feel I must make a brief comment on the outcome of the Labour leadership election. I am pretty sure I am not going to agree with Jeremy Corbyn on detailed education policy – though hopefully the core aspirations will be the same. That’s politics.

For example, I think there is a perfectly reasonable ‘equality of opportunity’ argument to be made for selective education. Or rather, I would rather call it ‘specialised education’. The problem with selection is not its organisation, which could actually make it easier to meet children’s needs without neglecting those of others – but who does the selecting. The unfairness of the Eleven Plus blinded the Left to such reasoning and it is high time it overcame such prejudice. We need a system that offers diverse, high quality education and lets people make real choices for themselves – effectively overseen to make sure that distortion by vested interests is minimised. The comprehensive system does not do that, since it is at least in part predicated on homogeneity of outcome.

But on the whole I am deeply pleased to have played a part in an election that has given entrenched interests something to contemplate. I also have hope that Corbyn will prove to be more consensual and effective than the many knee-jerk detractors are claiming.

Oh that a similar grass-roots movement could gain traction within the teaching profession. Criticising Corbyn for having done ‘nothing more’ than remaining a constituency M.P. for thirty years is a bit like criticising a teacher for having remained in the classroom. In both cases, there may be deep wisdom there for the using.


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