Times: rotting in failed schools

Minette Marrin: Sentenced to rot in their failed schools (Sunday TImes)

A case against another of this government’s stupid recent ideas: keeping kids in school until they’re 18. Theoretically, this is supposed to include the option of apprenticeship or training. In reality, for most kids it will mean two more years of school:

Bright schoolchildren and their teachers often talk of the relief they feel when the Asbo set leaves school at 16, so they can get on with their A-level classes in relative peace and quiet. Forcing class-wreckers to stay around would damage still further the chances of those children who want to study. The same applies to sending unwilling teenagers to colleges; they will undermine them. As for workplace training, the government has been making ambitious promises about apprenticeships for 10 years; why does it expect, suddenly, to be able to fulfil them now?

The same premise, of course, was used to justify refusing unemployment benefit to 16- and 17-year-olds under the Major government; they were supposed to go on Youth Training Schemes, but there simply were not enough of them. Ruining further education for decent kids and their teachers by keeping the riff-raff in when they want to be somewhere else is unconscionable. Perhaps in a few years’ time if the present bunch are still in power, they will ruin universities the same way.

“Shaikh” Abdullah Faisal quoted Imam Abu Hanifa as saying that if you force someone to learn religious knowledge (or perhaps any knowledge) against their will, you are torturing them. In this day and age, if you force the unwilling and unreceptive to stay in education, you are not only torturing them, but everyone else as well. I have long been in favour of reducing emphasis on secondary education (even lowering the leaving age) in favour of adult education for people who decide to go back into training or education when they are more mature and know what they want from life. This way, you can keep the schools, above a certain level, for people who actually want to be there and can get something out of it.

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