School choice for everyone

I have no problems with a Labour Cabinet Minister choosing a better school for her child. I do have problems that there is insufficient choice for many under this government.

I would like to see all schools becoming independent, with money from taxpayers sent to the schools chosen by parents up to a reasonable limit, so that all who want a free place can still have a free place, but at a better school with more choice than some experience today.

I also want to see better provision for special needs within the taxpayer financed sector. Conservatives have warned that too many special needs schools are being closed. Some children are better off in mainstream schools, whilst ??some are better off in special schools. Again, there should be the choice for those who rely on state schools, just as there is choice for those who can afford private educaiton.

I was fortunate to win a scholarship to a Direct Grant school from my local state primary. A previous Labour government knocked away that ladder of opportunity for people from lower income backgrounds. It is high time Labour now accepted that we need to remove the apartheid between independent and state schools, by making all schools independent, and by offering payment of fees for everyone who??wants ??that help, up to a sensible limit. Such a change would not only give people more choice, whatever their background, but would also help raise standards.

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  1. Kit
    Posted January 8, 2007 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    Agree totally. However, you need to deregulate. Currently the cost of entry for a new school is too high. Without competition you will not get choice. Wouldn't it be great to be able to use your "voucher" to pay for a term at a French school?

  2. Bill
    Posted January 8, 2007 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

    Hello John,

    I agree with you. Ruth Kelly is only doing what is good for her kids. The hypocrisy comes from her party having tried to stop everybody else exercising a right to choose. Interesting to note that a local authority has now admitted that it cannot adequately provide a fully inclusive policy. A good precedent don't you think?

  3. Oliver Healey
    Posted January 9, 2007 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    I share the sentiments voiced by Mr Redwood we need to restore the ladder of opportunity but not for everybdoy there must be selection as a ex state school pupil my views as a Conservative were hardened when I was there education is waht you get at Eton and Harrow not what you get at the local state comprehensive school.

    Oliver Healey

  4. Cllr Keith Standring
    Posted January 9, 2007 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    Well said John. I do not support Ruth Kelly's politics, however, since I am a free-market, libertarian Conservative, I do support her right as a mother with means to send one of her children with special needs to a school outside the state system. The other 3 children are continuing education in state schools.

    What's needed is good educational opportunities for all youngsters irrespective of their family background and wealth. I support the re-introduction of the Grammar School system. Sadly, only people like MP's have the means to have their children, even with special needs, educated in this way.

    It's a sad person who won't strive to secure the best possible education for their children, especially if they have special needs.

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  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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