Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Killing small communities

As a libertarian, I believe that the best person to decide how my money is spent, is me, I don't think it's the government either national or local, though I'm willing to concede that there should be a government and that some of my taxes should go towards certain things like defence and transport infrastructure on a national level and streetlighting and rubbish removal on a local level if only to avoid 16 different rubbish collections over 7 days of the week. I do believe however that a lot of the things that national government does ought to be devolved down to local levels, the lowest local level being me.
I certainly don't believe the state should be involved in education in the way that it is, they shouldn't be the employer of teachers, they shouldn't be setting the curriculum and they should not be constantly asking for data on how well the kids are doing.
What should be happening is that all parents with kids get an education voucher, they can go and check out different schools and if they find one they like that will accept their kids, they hand over the voucher to pay for their kids education. Doesn't matter if it's a school with over 100 teachers or two people who simply have the knack of passing on knowledge, so long as the parents and kids are happy. That way the bad teaches and schools are weeded out and the kids actually get taught stuff they need to know, not what Gordon Brown or Ding Cameron thinks they ought to know. Exams would be the same, let industry, commerce and the schools sort out the exam system so at least it's consistent and meets what the country needs.
With that system we'd avoid this scenario.

Cornwall is the 141st worst funded local education authority in England.

Right now it is reviewing primary schools, with the implicit threat that smaller more expensive village schools will be cut in the name of tackling ‘surplus places’.
In my adjournment debate today I want to challenge the Minister answering to make a solid commitment to improving funding for Cornish schools – but more importantly recognise that village schools can’t be properly valued with a surplus places model.
In small rural villages of radically different needs and requirements the target has to be vibrant working communities. Methods of school funding and educational delivery for areas like Cornwall must take this into consideration.
As a rural area, Cornwall has a high percentage of small schools serving small villages. The benefits of small schools are widely acknowledged and students from small schools perform well at primary school and beyond.
Sustainable rural communities thrive from having a very school – without them working families often cannot even live there. But there is a cost. Local authorities get the Dedicated Schools Grant from government based on how many students there are, and then have to make their own decisions about how and whether to value small schools. This means that in an area like Cornwall the realities of ‘per pupil funding’ mean that some pupils’ places cost almost £16,000 per year – and some less than £3000.
With a Libertarian system of education (based on the Swedish model) these schools wouldn't have to close as the villages would have the potential to hire teachers to educate their kids and the money would stay in the communities too as it would be easy to use any building, not the school building to educate them in, even the village pub would do.
People ever since the industrial revolution have been gravitating towards the cities, however it doesn't mean that villages need to suffer educationwise, or any otherwise come to that, all they need is control over their own destinies and for big government to butt out of their affairs.

We really need a revolution for freedom in this country, we're long overdue one. Big government, even local government has failed, it's riven with party politicalisation where dogma replaces common sense. Only then will we get the England we want.

8 annotations:

JuliaM said...

"In small rural villages of radically different needs and requirements the target has to be vibrant working communities."

If that word means what I think it means, that's going to be an unrealistic ambition in Cornwall!

Quiet_Man said...

Well I suppose it's a given value of vibrant :-D

Though government interference simply tarnishes the soul of everything it comes into contact with.

Duric Aljosa said...

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Alternative Economic Approach To Sustainable Development

The Boiling Frog said...

We really need a revolution for freedom in this country, we're long overdue one.

Agree with that, it's only a matter of time especially when Cameron turns out to be no different to Labour

James Higham said...

Completely agree. Choice is what characterizes a civilized society such as we're supposed to be.

English Pensioner said...

Its starting to happen with universities now that students have to pay fees. They are looking for value for money. I have four friends who have either children or grandchildren at non-UK universities because they consider they are both better, and surprisingly cheaper! One day it might happen with schools and one will be able to opt for a school in another county rather than be told where to go.

Elby the Beserk said...

The whole of the South West has been starved by Labour, simply because no-one here, bar in Bristol, elects Labour MPs. Indeed, I have no idea who our local Labour candidate is, whilst the sitting Lib Dem and prospective Tory are both out and about a lot.

So we don't count.

Devolution for Wessex. Energy from hydro, we can grow all our own food, and rollocks to the rest of you :-)

John R said...

Good idea - but how do you get the Whitehall leeches to let go of the money they steal from us all and waste so brilliantly on their pointless schemes? They're not going to do it without a fight.