Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Uppal's B.S. of the week

He's on to education now: another subject on which he knows nothing other than the party line.
What steps he is taking to reduce the burden of administration on schools; and if he will make a statement.

OK. I can take that. I don't like the implication that all administration is automatically evil (for instance, I'd like schools to check the teachers are qualified - not currently a requirement in fee-paying schools - and financially stable.

The Government are committed to reducing the administrative burden on schools. We have already announced that the lengthy self-evaluation form will be removed, FMSiS—the financial management standard in schools—will be scrapped, and the inspection framework will be streamlined. All data collections are being reviewed and we have included measures in the Education Bill to remove unnecessary regulations. In addition, we are taking action to reduce dramatically the volume of guidance and advice issued to schools.

Dearie me: so the government wants to give schools total control over everything they do, removing strategic oversight by the elected local authority, and they're abolishing financial checks? Nice. And 'unnecessary regulations' etc. tends to refer to things like decent sized classrooms, healthy food, banning sneaky tricks like admissions policies designed to filter out the poor and the black… burdensome regulation, you know.

But oh dear, Uphimself can't resist a bit of vacuous lying:
Free schools and academies reduce bureaucracy so that more time can be spent on education. Does the Minister agree that all those schools should be encouraged in all areas so that children from any background can have access to an environment that encourages aspiration and ambition?

I'd love to see the footnotes for that. Especially as not a single 'free' school exists (they're not free: taxpayers fund them without getting any democratic oversight: they'll be playgrounds for creationists and profiteers). He's just making it up. It's not as if teachers spend half their days doing the accounts. Does he think that changing the organisational structure of a school will produce 'aspiration and ambition'? Amongst pushy parents, perhaps: but the kids are encouraged by teachers, not articles of association.

I don't know why I bother. Being an educator, I tend to think that evidence and intellectual inquiry should form the basis of my beliefs - whereas Uppal thinks that a party manifesto equates to evidence.

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