This is interesting

Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party will on Thursday mount a bid to force public schools to open up their music, arts and drama departments to state school children.
Hundreds of independent schools would also be forced to offer careers advice, help finding work experience placements and a university place to teenagers from state schools.

Because it’s saying that for all the money spent on the union run state schools they’re still shit.

Perhaps the solution is to make the schools the state already controls less shit?

Fuck this ungrateful little cunt

An Oxford student who is leading a campaign to remove Cecil Rhodes statue has been bullied online after revelations that his education has been funded by the scholarship set up by the colonial politician, the Daily Telegraph can disclose.

Ntokozo Qwabe has been accused of “disgraceful hypocrisy” over the weekend because he has been funded by the scholarship set up by the man whose statue he wants removed.

He says:

But Mr Qwabe fought back. He wrote: “Rhodes did not have a scholarship. It was never his money. All that he looted must absolutely be returned immediately.
“I’m no beneficiary of Rhodes. I’m a beneficiary of the resources and labour of my people which Rhodes pillaged and slaved.”

In more detail:

A little more than six years ago you would have spotted Ntokozo Qwabe at a till point in a Durban supermarket. Fast forward to 2015 and you would be more successful looking for him beneath the spires of the world’s most famous university.

Qwabe now holds a Master’s degree in Public Law from Oxford University – and he is not done yet.

The 24-year-old received a two-year scholarship from the Mandela-Rhodes Foundation to study abroad after attaining 17 commendations, 34 distinctions and finishing his University of KwaZulu-Natal law degree summa cum laude.

And there’s something darkly amusing about a Zulu, one of the Bantus, claiming that it was all stolen. The Zulus themselves only moved into the area in the 17 and 18th centuries, displacing the former inhabitants, Khoi San. Even in relatively recent historical timescales Zulus are as much colonialists of the area as anyone else.

One of those times when you really should use the word “nigger”

That a school doesn’t want to teach Huck Finn any more is entirely their choice. However, I rather doubt the reasoning process that led them to that decision:

“We have all come to the conclusion that the community costs of reading this book in 11th grade outweigh the literary benefits,” Mr Hall said.

The head of the school said the N-word references within the text was “challenging” for some pupils. He added that the word made some feel that the school was not being inclusive.

As Twain wrote it, and as any sensible modern reading would still have it, the use of that word nigger is one of the most powerful, and liberal, parts of the book.

For here we’ve got Huck, on his raft, and he knows, absolutely, that if he aids that nigger, that escaped slave, that he’s going to damn his soul to Hell for all eternity.

At which point he aids that nigger, that escaped slave.

What better example of do the right thing, of taking the moral path rather than the societally acceptable one, would anyone like to point to in literature? Especially children’s literature?

Yes, obviously, we all know the uses of that word, the oppression and vileness that has accompanied its use. and yet here it’s not just acceptable it produces a large part of the very power of the point being made.

As I say, what a school teaches and how it teaches it is up to said school: but I do think this is a wrong turn.

On the value of a masters degree in history

Possibly not a lot:

The first book I published, which kind of got me started on this, was “SteamDrunks: 101 Streampunk Cocktails and Mixed Drinks”… It was basically to shut up a lot of my steampunk friends, who’d bring a bottle of absinthe to a party and be like, “This is just like what they were drinking in the 1890s!”

I have a masters in history: “No, it’s not. Even Byron didn’t drink that stuff straight!”

Byron? Absinthe? 1890s?

I beg your pardon? What?

A UK government move to drop feminism from the A-level politics syllabus has sparked outrage among campaigners and students.

The section on feminism in a revised version of the course put out to consultation by the Department of Education has been removed, along with the topics of sex/gender, gender equality and patriarchy.

Furthermore, only one woman – Mary Wollstonecraft – appears in a list of seven political thinkers in the draft.

The open consultation on the proposal for the AS and A-level syllabus will run to 15 December and campaigners and students are urging the public to oppose them.

When in fuck did we become a country when what is in the exam syllabus was decided by politicians?

Find whoever this was and hang them. Yes, even if it was Cromwell: we can dig him up and hang him again.

Just how howlingly ignorant is this?

Top private schools should charge foreign students three times more than British pupils so they can ‘bring back the middle classes’, an educational expert has said ahead of a conference this weekend.
Charles Bonas argues it is unfair for international students to benefit from fees that are substantially less than places like Switzerland and the US when they come from countries with lower or non-existence tax.

People should pay higher private school fees because they pay less tax at home? Aren’t we rather getting those concepts of private and tax confused here?

And very confused about markets too: British private schools have a market clearing price….which just is what it is.

Weird, weird, argumewnt.

People’s PPE

A new initiative:

Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) at the University of Oxford is the degree course of choice for those in politics, policy or journalism. In fact more than 40 current MPs including the Prime Minister have studied PPE, as have countless other world leaders.

This is because knowledge of politics and economics, and the philosophy that underlies the two, allows one to more meaningfully engage with, comment upon, and indeed govern society. Those who do not have access to this knowledge are open to manipulation by those who do.*

We do not think that those in power should have a monopoly on this knowledge.

Our project, “People’s PPE”, was officially launched at Momentum London East End’s inaugural event with John McDonnell MP. Join us for a series of lectures, seminars, debates and workshops aiming to empower the grassroots and enable ordinary people to become more politically engaged and literate.


Here is the PPE syllabus. Go read that, go read what it tells you to read, then you’re done, right?

Idiot statement of the day

If we’re serious about wanting a better-educated, better-trained workforce, let’s not look to selective education for the solution.


I know that Ritchie and Farnsworth show that you don’t actually need to know anything in today’s academia but could we start from at least one basic premise? That we’d like the bridges to be designed by people who can do maths? And then take selection as far as we need to from there?

Or, alternatively, just about all that’s wrong with the education system in one sentence above:

Selina Todd, a social historian, is fellow and vice principal of St Hilda’s College, Oxford.

Is Melissa Benn and idiot or just stupid?

A government insider says: “The department knows it’s not watertight legally. They know it’s going to be subject to judicial review. My soundings suggest that they think they have, say, a 60% chance of winning. Essentially the decision is political.”

If who can open a school of what kind and where is something decided by politicians then of course any such decision is political:

Establishing a new selective school is prohibited under an act passed by Labour in 1998.

See, politics!

If you don’t want politics in this then just stick a voucher on the back of every child and let the non-political process sort it out.

This seems pretty sensible really

Tens of thousands of poor families have left inner London in the past five years, creating “social cleansing on a vast scale” and leaving large parts of the capital as the preserve of the rich, figures suggest.

Umm, why shouldn’t rich people live where property is expensive and poor people live where it is cheap?

We think it’s OK that the poor don’t gorge on filet mignon and foie gras. That holidays are spent at Clacton not Curacao. why would or even should we expect poor people to live where just the land for a house is worth £1 million?

Nice try Larry but no cigar

It has been a catastrophic political blunder not to challenge the myth that Brown’s government caused the crisis and the austerity that followed. The choice, correctly framed by the economist Simon Wren-Lewis, is whether to pretend Osborne’s version of events is true and own up to perceived past mistakes or to contest it.

Pleading guilty seems the easier line to take, but it isn’t. The confession would be brandished by the government for the next five years as proof that Labour should never again be trusted with the public finances.

Instead, Labour needs to start its fightback by rehabilitating the record of the Blair-Brown years, making the point that the purpose of the pre-crisis borrowing was to modernise and improve the NHS and shabby schools. It also needs to challenge the idea that all borrowing at all times is bad. If that were the case, individuals would have to save up the entire asking price for a house rather than buying it on a mortgage and there would be no startup capital to launch businesses.

That’s not the argument about why Labour was profligate. Rather, look to the entirely standard Keynesian story. Yes, we should (using automatic stabilisers by preference, not spending sprees) increase aggregate demand in a downturn. But the flip side of that is that we should be running, yes, including that “investment ” shtick, a significant surplus at the peak of the boom. And we were at the peak of a boom: the longest one of modern times in fact, dating back pretty much to 1993.

No, not so as to pay down the national debt, no, not to save money for the future, not even to increase the firepower available for stimulus when the downturn inevitably comes.

Rather, to suck excessive demand out of the economy. There should have been, as with Ireland and Spain (not that it saved them, but things would have been even worse if they hadn’t been doing this), substantial budget surpluses in the period 2000 (or so) onwards. That’s the profligacy, that Labour didn’t even follow the standard Keynesian prescription.

Tristram Hunt goes Wibble, Wibble

For what’s the point of being a forward looking politician if people are just getting along and solving shit without you?

“Smartphones are psychologically addictive, encourage narcissistic tendencies and should come with a health warning.” That was the conclusion of a recent University of Derby study which highlighted the disturbing downside to our digital obsession.
But it could be even worse than that. Smartphone addiction could be damaging educational standards and exacerbating inequality. Advanced digital technology is now an everyday component of classroom and community, but we need to think much smarter about its long-term impact.
As shadow Education Secretary, I have a recurring conversation in the schools I visit. Primary head teachers explain to me the challenge they face in getting their pupils up to the relevant level of progress, given their various developmental delays. In particular, more children are presenting with serious difficulties when it comes to speech and language. In disadvantaged communities, children’s ability to talk, to play, to interact is often markedly behind. When I ask if the condition is getting worse, all heads say yes – and they blame the iPhone.

Yeah, right.

Pupils not being up to speed in English might have more to do with the number of children from families which do not speak English. Which has been rising rather, hasn’t it?

That Finnish teaching success

Ye, we know, Finland’s teachers are great, the school system is excellent.

But the five-year master’s degree for primary school teachers is not in question. Competition is fierce – only 7% of applicants in Helsinki were accepted this year, leaving more than 1,400 disappointed.

It’s the smart people going to be teachers. As opposed to the UK where….well, I don’t know about now so much but back when two Es got you into the teacher training college when three As might or might not get you into Oxbridge. Many of the inmates of the girlfriend farm that was the local teacher training college were in fact remarkably dumb.

Sounds like an extremely good use of £12

Ten years later, in 2002, MacFarlane-Barrow travelled to Malawi for the first time, to assist with famine relief. He met a woman dying of an Aids-related illness whose 14-year-old son told him that his one wish in life was to have enough food to eat, and to go to school one day. That encounter sparked Scottish International Relief’s evolution into a new school-based feeding operation, which MacFarlane-Barrow, a devout Catholic, named Mary’s Meals.

The charity now provides for children in 12 countries across Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, at an average cost of £12.20 per child, per year. ‘I think the reason we have got so far is that we’ve found something that really works,’ MacFarlane-Barrow says. ‘It’s so simple. And it’s also been successful because it is the community who own this – they are in charge of providing volunteers to cook the food, and supervising it.’

To feed the hungry? And as one authority had it, what you do to the little children you do unto me.

A bonzer plan there, entirely bonzer.


A Manchester charity is proposing to open a state school that will specialise in supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender children. There has never been a better time to announce such an initiative. Unfortunately, there has never been a worse time either.

Well, umm.

It’s OK to separate children by their sexuality during their education but not by their intelligence?