Monday, 29 December 2008

Tories 'seek more school expulsions'

. Ananova carries this story which says that the Tories feel more pupils that are suspended should be excluded. It follows the release of official government statistics which show;

"79,180 suspensions for assault against a pupil, 18,590 suspensions for assault against an adult, 16,090 suspensions for threatening behaviour against a pupil, 89,880 suspensions for threatening behaviour against an adult and 3,500 suspensions for sexual misconduct."

One obvious concrete question that arises is how taking these people out of education will actually achieve anything. In reality, what we seem to be dealing with here is more posturing that exists in the vacume caused by a lack of concrete policy. More 'broken Britain' rhetoric I think....


asquith said...

Well, the problem is that for certain children having them in mainstream education isn't helping anyone: not them, or anyone else. It is better to have them in isolation. This doesn't have to be punitive, or even involve expulsion from school, but they should be taught in seperate units rather than in mainstream classes.

Like mixed-ability teaching, "inclusion" is an imposition from above which does nothing for those it is supposed to benefit, while harming everyone else. I don't agree with these right-wing tits who think education was better 50 years ago & all we need is for teachers to be able to give pupils a good kicking, but New Labour's mix of egalitarianism, state control & obsession with measurable outcomes & what will be of "economic" gain to large corporations (etc, etc) has got us here.

I wouldn't necessarily agree with Camoron's scheme, but he does identify a real problem & we should try to come up with better solutions than his because we can't just keep doing things Broon's way.

Darrell G said...


I can agree with you that there are children for whome the system of mainstream classroom education doesnt work. However, I am not convinced by a policy of complete isolation because does that not pose problems of socialisation?? If it were the case it should only be for a period...

In terms of manufactured education I agree and it was one main reason I never excelled I think to be honest because I am a bit differentially motivated though was never in trouble...

The problem I have is Cameron identifies a problem to fit his rhetorical flourishes and doesnt have any viable solutions...

asquith said...

Agreed on Camoron. I'd hate you to think I was agreeing with the manbreasted & large foreheaded one :)

My views on education are very much shaped by my background, yes. I was marked out from a very young age as a child of very high intelligence. Not being a showoff, but it is true.

I was offered scholarships & a place at grammar school, but for some silly reason I wanted to go along with everyone else from primary school, even though they were dickheads. Well, I went to an unspeakably shite council estate school in Stoke. I did quite well by the standards of the average person in this country. That was seen as an enormous triumph at the school I was at, & it was quite remarkable for them to send someone to university.

As I said, I never really excelled & ended up at Keele, even though I think I'm at least Sheffield/Manchester material, & possibly even Oxbridge grade. The funny thing is that I went to quite a good 6th form college, but somehow managed to get A Levels that were worse than my GCSEs. I remember never doing any studying, but then it wasn't seen as normal in families like mine.

I don't completely understand why I underachieved, but I can identify some factors. Firstly & most obviously the school environment. Secondly, coming from a working-class family & both my parents having left school early.

Although they are intelligent, they think of themselves as stupid (this was drilled into them when they were young: such was common in the old days) & don't follow intellectual pursuits of any kind because they think it isn't for people like them.

Until I was 17, I had never read a newspaper, & the only books in the house were the ones I bought. My family were quite surprised that I was relatively academic but they were encouraging, & it helped enormously that my uncle went to university, so that & my natural intelligence helped me get over the low horisons that existed.

I had a lot of experiences at school. I remember we had some teachers who were really strict & had the whole class terrified of them. The Daily Mail would love them. But they were shite teachers & no one learned anything from them.

We didn't dare ask questions, we sat there in silence doing no work (they didn't notice, because they never deigned to mark our books or otherwise show an interest in our education). That is why I'm against mindless right-wingers spouting shite about discipline, especially when I think about those fuckers having the cane!

Funnily enough, I was in trouble quite a lot. The teachers were surprised to see one of the brighter pupils behaving badly. But it was my reaction to being in such a shite place, I think.

Honestly, I could go on forever. Do you ever read To Miss With Love? That is a good blog. Some of the commentors are proper headbangers though.

Darrell G said...


Lol, noted that you dont.

I think everybodies preceptions are marked by their experiences to some degree. I just felt hemmed-in; for example, I wanted to do politics from an early age but was never offered the option and by the time I got to A-Levels had lost alot of educational motivation.

I sally on by occasionally lol...i really should visit more because ive enjoyed what i have read there...

asquith said...

Yes, she is the one who convinced me that "inclusion" is a mistake. It is better to try & figure out some way of rescuing them, & maybe bringing them into the classroom later, but without this mad drive to have everyone together (which is also behind the closure of special schools).

With special schools, again, the ideologues on both sides should be dismissed. There is a case to be made for admitting some to mainstream schools, but not others, or partnerships between types of school. But tread carefully & don't try to impose some central "vision" is the message to the state, definitely.

I studied politics at university, didn't do it at A Level or especially want to, though my environment politicised me. I should have thought that happened to everyone. But some haven't got the intelligence.

What I said about my parents thinking of themselves as stupid & that being typical... this, again, had an impact on me. When I studied history I read about the working men's clubs, set up by people of ordinary social status but of high intelligence, knowing they could better themselves & determined to do so even if the social odds were against them.

Certainly I was personally inspired by the working-class autodidacts, & we could have done with a lot more of that on this estate, as there are some very intelligent people living here but they are never "unlocked".

This also explains my scepticism about the state, because the state (along with the council, large employers & the whole culture of the area) seems to be part of what is keeping people at the bottom.

I am not a great enthusiast for formal education. I got quite a lot out of university, but I've also learned a lot from personal experience & private reading. A lot of people who are middle-class "automatically" go to university even though they are thick. & again, you'll find New Labour behind this, as well as Thatcher, Major, & for that matter their predecessors.

I honestly don't worry about education any longer, as I think I am very well educated. I have a basic 2:1, but my education goes well beyond that as I've developed a "hinterland"... which I could have done without going to university, for that matter, as many a man did in the 19th century.

I wonder what I'd do if I had children. I think I'd send them to a comprehensive of average or slightly above average results, with a socially mixed intake. They would probably fare well with the right upbringing. But in all honesty I don't think I'm likely to become a parent anyway :)

Darrell G said...


I honestly dont think my enviroment politicised me; well I guess it was part of it but it was also my intellectual bent as much as anything else. It's not as if I come from a political family which I dont or came from a background which made me especially aware of politics or political issues...

I think ideology of any kind plays havoc in education to be honest...I have a certain committment to how it's provided ie, that it should be and access is one of the key planks of fairness within a society...

Me neither lol :)