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Why is it only the right that get angry about how state schools fail the poor?

23 June 2013

Does it matter if the poor are given a bad eduction? Christine Blower, head of the National Union of Teachers, has just been on BBC1 Sunday Politics. She’s very influential (as her £155,000 pay package suggests) especially at a time when Labour policy is aligning behind NUT policy. When confronted with figures showing how the poor achieve far worse exams results than the rich, she had this to say:-

So”that is not the failure of comprehensive education. That is because we have a monstrously unequal society.” In other words: blame the parents. Some of these pupils, she says, are in the hands of slob parents who don’t give them breakfast. “They may not have a bed in which they can sleep,” she said. We should do “everything we possibly can,” she said – by which she meant things like offer free school breakfast as well as lunch. She had nothing to say about teaching quality.

To be sure, Britain has plenty of poverty. But does that really explain the scandalous correlation between wealth and GCSE results? The below is the Graph of Doom, compiled by Chris Cook for the Financial Times. It shows everything that’s wrong with the comprehensive school system.



Why do we think the poorer kids get worse results? I’d like to bring in Neil Kinnock, who one spoke very eloquently on this point.