Douglas Carswell

14 FEB 2017

We need to look beyond comprehensive education

MPs on the Education Select Committee claim that the government hasn't presented enough evidence for new grammar schools. But how much evidence is there for keeping the comprehensive system?

Comprehensive education was never based on evidence. It was about ideology.

Marxist educational theorists backed one-size-fits-all schools because they refused to accept the reality of natural differences in ability. All differences in ability, they maintained, were about class.

Which is why, when comprehensives were first set up, they didn't stream by ability.

Now, of course, they do – because one-size-fits-all education doesn't work in practice. Why would it? The idea of natural equality is absurd.

The reality is that people are diverse. So the education system should reflect that.

Opening new grammar schools should be part of a wider effort to diversify the system.

Schools should be able to decide what and whom they teach – with no national curriculum.

Parents should have the right to control their share of the education budget and send their children to whatever school they choose – not a school determined by postcode lottery.

Unfortunately, any change to the current system – however minor – is opposed by vested interests in the teaching unions and academia, many of whom are still wedded to the bogus theories of the past. Our education system is hamstrung by producer capture.

The overriding aim of school reform should be to face down the education establishment and free up the system. That's what MPs should be pushing for.

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