Saturday 18 July 2009

Stands Scotland where it did?

And now one of those stories that get the cybernats worked up no end. (See the comments.)
Lindsay Paterson, professor of educational policy at Edinburgh University, described the idea of Scotland having the best education system was "one of the great education myths".

He said: "Unintentionally, a vast experiment that tests some of these claims has been conducted since 1997 as policies in the four nations have diverged since devolution.

"What is little realised, and never celebrated, is that the clear winner in this is the much- disdained England."

I always thought that Professor Paterson was one of Scottish education's useful idiots, but it seems like he's seen the light.

The problem with English education is not that it's too fragmented compared with what's available in Scotland but that it's not fragmented enough. And the same is therefore even more true up here. There is absolutely no reason why the state should be running any schools. If it must finance education, let it be by means of vouchers, although personally I don't think that the state should even go that far.

I'm quite favourable to the idea of independence, but Scotland does seem to have an inordinate number of foolish people when it comes to education. I'm glad to note that Professor Paterson may not be one of them.

1 comment:

David Farrer said...

Comments made on previous template:

Sandy Jamieson
It may have been true at least until the early 1970s. I went to a Senior Secondary School in central Scotland.  
The Rector was a strong academic and pushed it into being one of the top state schools in Scotland. The county council destroyed it in the early 1970s with the intoduction of comprehensive education and it became dependent on a catchment area of a sink council estate. 
Re-introduce selection and Scotland's pre-eminence can be quickly re-established. And make sure the resources are placed in the Junior Secondary section. Senior Secondary pupils only need a blackboard and chalk. 
As for myself my elder child has just finished at a an English Grammar School- in result terms one of the best in the North of England. In this part of the UK , the Secondary Moderns have better results than the comprehensives in the remaining part of the education authority

20 July 2009, 22:25:24 GMT+01:00
– Like – Reply

Porco Erectus
"I always thought that Professor Paterson was one of Scottish education's useful idiots" 
Yes, so did I. I well remember watching him on television defending the eradication of Grammar Schools on the basis that it had been a good piece of social engineering without too much concern about educational standards. I have also read his claims that there has been no dumbing down, only rising standards. Ergo it is something of a surprise to read this.

19 July 2009, 16:42:06 GMT+01:00
– Like – Reply

The Young Oligarch
There is much truth in what Colin Finlay says .  
Who is going to teach them these trades , though ? Will it be another few years in a different , failing school ? If so , they could end up more unemployable by being lumped together . 
Also social class must have NOTHING to do with it . It is our current , supposedly egalitarian system which pepetuates class division .  
Back to the 11-plus !

19 July 2009, 11:35:13 GMT+01:00
– Like – Reply

Colin Finlay
Lots of kids hate learning and it necessarily follows that they hate school. They come, preponderately, from the lower classes and would benefit from being taught a useful and moderately lucrative trade. 
Only cultural Marxist delusionals afford themselves the luxury of educational romanticism whereby, like the pupils of Garrison Keillor's fabled Lake Woebegone School, "every child is above average".

19 July 2009, 08:24:04 GMT+01:00
– Like – Reply

The Young Oligarch
I suspect you are right about the voucher idea , Mr.Farrer . 
Grant Maintained schools had many of the freedoms which I think you envisage , too much to survive into the current regime .  
I taught in one and , when it was forced back under council control , £40,000 p.a.(or the whole teacher-training budget) disappeared into the council's coffers , never to be seen again . 
Foundation schools , while still having the dead hand of the state on the purse-strings , have a fair degree of autonomy . 
Up here ? We've just got to put up with what the Labour Party , COSLA and the EIS have dreamed up between themselves . 
Not working out well , so far , as you note .

19 July 2009, 00:37:25 GMT+01:00
– Like – Reply

David Farrer
"It was generations ago when it was true and respected." 
Yes, the rot set in the day after I left...

18 July 2009, 18:35:29 GMT+01:00
– Like – Reply

For far too long we have drifted along on the accolade of Scots education. It was generations ago when it was true and respected. 
Mind you, I don't give much credit to the English system either these days. As in Scotland, schools are a hit or a miss and headmasters and staff have too little influence in the public sector. 
Every country has their fair share of fools David and Scotland's no exception. The introduction of the comprehensive system was the death knell for many schools. 
Interesting thought about a voucher system.

18 July 2009, 18:25:09 GMT+01:00