Monday, January 15, 2007

Ruth Kelly and Ofsted

Ruth Kelly has come under a lot of criticism over her decision to send her child to a private school - Croydonian amongst others pointing out that "one might note that Ofsted's last report on Bolton judged its special needs provision 'good' or 'highly satisfactory' (page 29) on all measures."

That's all very well, but while Ruth Kelly's constituency may be in Bolton, she clearly doesn't live there. Her wikipedia entry reports that her children attend a Catholic primary school in East London (in fact, the same Catholic primary school I can see out of my office window) which confirms the suggestions I've heard that she lives in a rather exclusive development on the river.

The school itself is reckoned to be one of the best schools in Tower Hamlets (note: a long way from Bolton) and Tower Hamlets have argued that ""We are proud of the quality of education we offer to all children. We have a strong record in helping children with a wide range of learning needs to succeed."

All well and good, but here's another thought. Tower Hamlets is also one of the most deprived boroughs in the country. If a well off parent decides to withdraw a child who has particular needs out of their schools and send them to a private school, then they are freeing up funds within a deprived area for dealing with kids who need it more.

One final point. Some years ago a family friend who lives in Tower Hamlets borough withdrew her children from a different Catholic school in the borough to homeschool them because she felt that the standard of education they were receiving was unacceptable. Although the family friend has an Oxford PhD, she suffered a huge amount of harassment from the Local Education Authority as a result of this decision - including the insinuation she was not fit to teach them. Some of their schools may be good, but they are not perfect.


Croydonian said...

Yup, I know she lives in Tower Hamlets, I was more in the business of making a cheap comment about carpet bagging MPs.

BJ said...

Hi! I thought you and your readers might be interested in some post-Easter news about Pope Benedict XVI...
The Pope's car is being auctioned off to raise money for Habitat for Humanity:
The bidding is already more than $200,000! Personally, I think this is a really fun and creative way to raise
money. The auction goes until April 14th if you and your readers want to check it out.