Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Stay where you are, the school's full

You know you've been in a job way too long when you're damning the citizens who vote you in because you're not capable of solving the problems you're supposed to solve.

The Minister for Education damned a lot of parents with these remarks:
"I really wish parents who are choosing to move house within term time would make arrangements for their children to be in a school at the beginning of the term."

She added it was "entirely unacceptable", in the educational interests of their children, that parents "checked out the colour scheme in the bathroom of their new house but would not have found out if a place was available for a child within a school".
Look, Minister, you're the one who's in charge of this excessively centralized education system so it's your fault if you can't move resources around sufficiently quickly to ensure that those areas that are experiencing rapid growth can have schools that grow with them. And, I don't remember hearing you say anything about decentralizing funding and control of education, so it's not like you can claim any "I told you so's" here.

People choose to move for all sorts of reasons. They buy a house that suits their budget, work, family-size, and, yes, taste. Often they don't have much choice about when they move. The state's monopoly on education (and don't talk to me about the Church, the Church has almost no say these days in building or staff numbers) means it's the state's responsibility to provide schools and teachers where people live.

For the Minister to condemn parents because they choose to live where she'd rather they didn't is an indication that arrogance and hubris are now setting the tone in the Department for Education.