One swallow does not make a summer, nor does one academy reverting to local authority oversight do anything for our present incoherent, expensive and unaccountable education system (Take heart from the academy chain drummed out of town, 14 November).
Already we have parent groups springing up all over the country, not just complaining about the funding crisis but also railing against the narrow academic curriculum, the teaching to tests, and the inadequate exam system designed in and for the previous century. Are we really going to ask pupils, parents and teachers to wait for this system to slowly collapse?
Of course, we need a national education service (NES) that is all about lifetime learning, and relearning, to give everyone more skills and opportunities both to gain from and contribute to society. Labour’s NES charter is only an outline, but surely a bigger step in the direction we need, and everyone interested in education for the 21st century should be trying to build on it.
Reclaiming Education has started on this; at our conference this month, we had teachers and parents eager to help build something better for our children and their future. Why don’t you join us?
• It is a mark of how distant is the prospect of equality of opportunity in this country that discussion of private schools focuses on the level of fees (Tim Lott, Family, 18 November), rather than the morality of charging for education at all. Can we imagine a country – Finland for example – where private schools exist but may not by law charge fees nor select pupils by ability? Where attainment excellence is internationally recognised alongside the equality of opportunity provided by a comprehensive state education system? More especially, can we imagine the impact on society (and the establishment) if the advantages of private schools are shared more equitably?
• So, Tim Lott is “against” private schools but a cheaper option could sway him. “Only” £52 a week per child. Great. A three-tier system, benefiting only the middle classes. That’s called finally affording a privilege, not having a principle.