Yesterday's Ofsted report reveals that more than half of secondary schools are still failing to deliver a decent standard of education. And this is almost 10 years after Tony Blair came to power with a priority of "education, education, education."
First the Government announced that parents that don't read and sing for their children will be helped to do so in new parenting centres and today's (21 Nov) papers are reporting that £4 million will be spent on "super nannys" (=child psychologists) to crack down on anti-social behaviour.
The children's minister Beverley Hughes announced today that parents that do not read and sing for their children will be helped to do so. New parenting centres will be opening from next year to give parents advice. The minister says that singing and reading will give children a "flying start" and will imporve their wellbeing and intellect. This might be true but do we really need the government to point this out and to establish such advice centres?
The Government has promised £75 million to universities to prevent further closure of chemistry and physics departments. The subjects are vital to the economy but it cannot be economically viable to sustain (such expensive) courses that do not attract enough students. The Government should address the problem at schools to ensure enough students will take up these important subjects.
The HSE announced today (03 November 2006) the new workplace hazard awareness course and qualifications for young people. According to the the Chief Executive of HSE it is a "great example of how HSE, government and industry can work together to ensure that tomorrow's workforce has a sound basis for understanding the hazards that confront us every day at work."
So peers have decided that head teachers will be required to promote "community cohesion" and that this will be assessed by inspectors (Guardian).
Schools work best where teachers are left to get on with the business of running schools, not respond to politically correct targets. In well run schools, with motivated teachers and happy pupils, "community cohesion" happens automatically.
Islam is causing particular problems in the world at the moment. But other religions have also been the excuse for destruction and torment, for example in Europe at the time of the Inquisition, or more recently in Northern Ireland, North Uganda, Kashmir or Punjab. Religious leaders would argue that religion was not the cause of the suffering, only the excuse, and that their religion had been used and abused by rulers for ulterior motives. This may be so, but it is difficult to imagine that those leaders would have found it so easy to inspire savage acts in the name of humanism.