Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Class expectations

The latest school league tables - and in particular the stats' for the new 'English Baccalaureate' speak volumes -if not about education then certainly about class.

Having  myself been lucky enough to take a very traditional academic path until the age of 22, my views reflect my own  prejudices. I'm inclined to think that the baseline of English-Maths-Science-Humanity-Foreign Langauge is a pretty good summing up of a rounded education. But I'm not an educationalist and and I'll defer to anyone with a more enlightened take on this. These arguments aside though, the fact remains that of the top 100 results of schools in this country measured against the new standard there is not a single comprehensive amongst them nor even an inner city state school of any descripition.

We can debate whether the 'Bacc' is the right way to go: But thanks to the attacks on student funding with raised fees it's clear that we are going back to the days of two - or multi- tier higher education. And the Bacc. will  act as a ready-made indicator for those on a traditional elite academic path. It's probably only a matter of time before Oxbridge and then the Russell Group specify it as requirement much as they do now  with their lists of 'approved' A-Levels.

And so again working class kids in the cities will systematically have their expectataions lowered, their schools will be ill-equipped to meet the standard, and the message will again be 'it's not for the likes of you'.

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