Stories + Views
I applaud Cameron’s plan to send his children to his local secondary school
The Sunday Times’ scoop today was that David Cameron is planning to his children to his local secondary school, a new state sponsored academy Kensington Aldridge academy which will be built near his old home in West London. From what I can see the academy will be non-selective and non-religious and be in line with other community schools in Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster.
The admissions policy has not yet been decided yet but I don’t get the impression that the Kensington Aldridge academy are that keen to “covertly” select pupils: they have been set up by a Labour donor who seems anxious to have a fair admissions’ system. This said, the proof will come in the pudding!
This is an important step that the Prime Minister has taken. It appears, though I am happy to be corrected, he has not opted to “play the system” by getting his children into a covertly selective school — or to opt out by sending them to a private school.
Perhaps now he is seriously considering sending his children to a non-selective, local school, he and the Education Secretary will consider reforming the admissions system as a whole. Above all, we must end the curse of overt and covert selection throughout the whole country; stop “aptitude” tests; stop “faith” schools creaming off the pupils from the wealthiest backgrounds; and give Local Authorities the power to supervise admissions so that children of all abilities are distributed equitably within a local area.
His first step should be to intervene with the new Education Bill and give the School Adjudicator back his powers to intervene if he/she sees covert selection going on. He also needs to make sure that Admissions’ Forums are not eradicated; they were important in making sure admissions were fair. If he wanted to learn more, he should certainly look at the memorandum submitted by Comprehensive Future about the Education Bill, which points these things out.
Above all, David Cameron is a canny politician and a prudent parent: he knows that sending his children to the local school is the best thing for his children in all sorts of ways, educationally, socially, psychologically and, for him, politically. He also knows that this announcement will mean that the school will have been given a very important boost, an added status, which will make it an even better school.