Stories + Views
More futility on mobility
A new day, and another new proposal to improve ‘social mobility’ – this time from Nick Clegg, best known as the back half of the leadership of the Coalition government, whose education policy is making it harder for most poorer children to get a good, rounded education while upholding the privileges of the privately and selectively educated.
Clegg’s latest wheeze is to suggest that schools with large numbers of poorer children, and so in receipt of the pupil premium, should compete – for a cash prize, no less – to come up with good ideas about how to spend the pupil premium. To which, I can only say: oh dear, oh dear. When politics is reduced to a mix of Britain’s Got Talent, and an ersatz lottery style prize, you know that time is running out.
Clegg seems to be unaware of the fact that the reason that most schools have not yet come up exciting new ideas on how to spend their extra pupil premium money has been a) they are too busy using it to fix other holes in their budget and b) the government did not ringfence the pupil premium in the first place – apparently in the name of autonomy. Again, oh dear.
So it is especially cheering to read the strong statement from Stephen Twigg, shadow secretary of state for education,in response to Clegg’s latest weedy offering. As I can’t find a link for it, I will reproduce it in full:
Stephen Twigg MP, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, responding to the Deputy Prime Minister’s speech, said:
“Nick Clegg has got a nerve talking about social mobility.
“His Government has cut education spending by the biggest amount since the 1950s.
“More than half of headteachers say they will be forced to use the pupil premium to plug holes in their budget.
“Free schools set up by this Government take far fewer pupils from deprived background than average.
“And half of the education capital spend in the Spending Review is being spent on pet projects, rather than real need.
“With a million young people unemployed and families with children paying more than double what the banks are paying to reduce the deficit, the public will not be fooled by Clegg’s desperate attempt to pretend this Government is fair.”
Hurrah to that.