There can be little doubt that the provision of state education (up to the age of sixteen) has been enhanced and improved, for the majority of children, over the past seventy years. The basic standard of education experienced by our children has improved beyond recognition. This is evidenced by the improvement in performance and achievement of pupils in the majority of our schools. These improvements have run alongside the increasing fairness within the system overall.

But are we beginning to see a change in this picture of steady and fair improvement? Is our system being privatized by stealth with the way in which ‘academies’ and ‘free schools’ are being introduced?

It appears that spending cuts currently being planned by the government may well affect education quite significantly. Apparently spending on the NHS will be protected as will spending on the elderly. With education there is a promise to keep spending at the current financial level but after this year it will NOT increase in line with inflation. It does not take an economic genius to work out that this will effectively mean cuts if inflation does take off. This is has also has to be seen against the background of increasing teacher shortages and rising school rolls. In times of severe teacher shortage it normally results in government increasing salaries but this it will not do as this would increase the current budget allocation over the limits set.

Fairness within the system is also being challenged in certain areas with the attempt to bring back grammar schools.

Is the government being duplicitous?

The government appears to be doing things like expensive advertising campaigns to attract new teachers, it appears to ‘care’ by having a robust and independent Ofsted to help maintain standards BUT is all this smoke and mirrors too hide real intentions.

Is the intention to actually run down the current system to the extent that parents will increasingly look to the private sector to provide their children’s education thus relieving the state of this burden?

What do you think?

Is government planning to effectively reduce the state involvement and responsibility for education?

Or

Is this a conspiracy theory too far?