The Local Education Authority (LEA) in Brighton and Hove have introduced a lottery system as a way of allocating places at over-subscribed schools. Supporters of the move say it will bring an end to the system of a child’s education depending on their postcode. Detractors, many of whom are parents who deliberately moved to live close to popular schools say it is unfair.
Will it work? Possibly. Will it be any more fair than the existing system? Probably not. After all, it is likely that a number of brighter children will now find themselves being educated at schools which are some distance from their homes, and which are not of the same standard as their local establishments. However, here’s a novel idea – instead of targets, initiatives and the reworking of existing systems, why don’t the Education Department make a genuine attempt to bring all schools up to an acceptable standard? Of course, that would require real investment and a return to the days when teachers were employed to teach, not to fill in forms, meet targets and juggle ever increasing levels of bureaucracy, so it will probably never happen.
Former government ministers, Alan Milburn and Charles Clarke (Remember him? He was the Home Secretary who looked like Big Ears.) have spoken out against the Chancellor Gordon Brown – most likely successor to Tony Blair – warning of a defeat for Labour at the next election. The duo have launched a website where Labour supporters can discuss the future of the party. I have to say I agree with some of their points. What exactly are Gordon Brown’s policies? Does he have any? And why is it such a foregone conclusion that he will succeed Blair anyway? Shouldn’t there be some kind of election with a variety of candidates, or is that just a silly old fashioned notion?