Saturday, 24 September 2016

Secondary education

Some Brexiteer on "Any Questions?" yesterday asserted that Liberal Democrats would get nowhere because we were obsessed with Europe. She cited Tim Farron's federal conference speech of last Tuesday. Well, in the words of Paul Simon, a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest. The overwhelming impression I had was, after necessarily considering what the effects of Brexit would be, that Tim's major concern was with the threat to extend selective education beyond its current redoubts in England. He echoed Kirsty Williams' determination that there would be no reintroduction of the 11-plus on her watch as education minister in Wales.

(Incidentally, in a previous post I laid part of the blame for the sheep-and-goats tripartite system on the wording of the Butler Education Act 1944. I should have checked instead of relying on memory. As Nicholas Timmins points out in "The five giants", though the preceding White Paper had made clear that the tripartite system was expected, the Act merely required education according to age, ability and aptitude.)

You can judge the speeches for yourself. The text of Tim's is here and Kirsty's here.

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