Azara Blog: The Tories harp on about the middle class in education

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Date published: 2007/12/31

The BBC says:

Children from the most deprived areas of England are falling further behind in school compared to more affluent pupils, say the Conservatives.

Shadow Schools Secretary Michael Gove highlighted figures showing a widening of the social gap in achievement.

There is a 43 percentage point gap in the proportions of wealthy and deprived pupils achieving five good GCSEs including English and maths in 2007.

In 2006, this gap in favour of the wealthiest was 28 percentage points.

This social divide in exam results shows "the education system is letting down the poorest," says Mr Gove.

The figures are based on comparisons of the GCSE results of pupils from the 10% most affluent areas and the 10% most deprived.

The growing lead reflects an accelerating improvement in the results of children from better-off families - with 68% of these pupils now reaching the benchmark of five good GCSEs including English and maths, up from 57% in 2006.

Meanwhile, the results of the least well-off pupils have slipped back - down from 29% to 25% reaching this GCSE benchmark.
When the school population is divided into 10 bands of affluence and deprivation, the level of achievement rises in precise step with increased wealth in every subject and at every level.

Surprise, rich kids do better in school than poor kids, who would have thought it. But the large change in the figures between 2006 and 2007 would tend to indicate that the figures are not very robust, more than anything else.

And what is it about the Tories (and the Lib Dems, and to some extent Labour) that the only thing they seem to care about in education is to screw the middle class relative to the (really) poor? They don't seem to be particularly bothered about improving education for all, in particular for ordinary kids (neither rich nor poor). Well of course the Tories are the party of entrenched privilege, and most of them attended "public" (i.e. private) schools, so they probably figure any middle class family which is not willing to throw tens of thousands of pounds at private schools deserves to have their kids screwed by the State to teach them a lesson.

And what is it about the Tories (and to some extent the other parties) that they always are so keen to condemn State education (in particular, normally teachers)? How about looking at the root cause, which in many cases is the family of the child. Of course one is not allowed to ever mention this, because the State is supposed to magically sort all these social problems out, by stealing money from ordinary kids and throwing it at poor kids.

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