« Anyone for progressive conservatism? | Main | Just when The Telegraph warms to Cameron, the Mail goes AWOL »


It seems to be a restatement of existing policy.

Nothing much new in it.

I agree with Jennifer in that I was expecting it to be much more dramatic, but it does a decent job of pulling together the policy themes.

What we need to see now is for these themes becoming campaign issues and not just speech material. The pledge on borders police, for example, should be highlighted and not lost amidst talk of global warming.

Its mainly a string of tired ideas and even tired cliches and tired flannel.'Giving head teachers control of discipline'-what does this mean? Who controls discipline now? And once the thugs are kicked out in their hundreds will Cameron back up or back down?

Well politicians have to keep banging on about the same message in the hope that it will eventually get through the media filter.

Cameron wants to make clear what makes Conservatives different from Labour, at a time when it is fashionable to say that all political parties are the same.

I think he does highlight a big difference - we trust the people, they don't.

I hope Cameron will someday make this broader point in relation to the forthcoming negotiations on the new EU treaty/constitution. I heard Lord Trimble's lonely voice on Any Questions this week, as he fought against the Europhile Labour and Lib Dem representatives who wanted a stitch-up behind closed doors.

Of course we're only calling for a referendum because we'd win it, but it's a good message to get across: that we're willing to trust the people to make the right decision, whereas Labour and Lib Dems think their people know best and that the British public would make the wrong decision.

with a ‘grammar stream’ in every subject in every school

unbridled lunacy and impossible to deliver. That will certainly shrink the range of subjects taught in State schools

I don't feel particularly reassured.

"It is simply no use talking about opportunity for all unless we give every child in our country the secure start in life that comes from a stable, loving home"

Does anyone really think it's in the power of government to give EVERY child in the country a stable, loving home? How on earth could this possibly be achieved?!
I'm guessing this is intended to be Blairite guff rather than an actual policy statement.

I'll read the full speech tomorrow. It's OK but this does not sound inspiringly 'progressive'.....

Grammar streams are a myth. You have grammar schools or streaming in comprehensive schools. This is Orwellian double-speak from Cameron.

Note that Willetts' was exposed as a liar in the Express today. See this article

"Shadow Education Secretary David Willetts had infuriated party members by saying selection in schools widened the gap between rich and poor.

"He claimed that just two per cent of grammar school pupils received free school meals, an indicator of social deprivation....

The Tories used research by the prestigious Sutton Trust which looked at the top 200 state schools, a mixture of grammars and comprehensives.

The two per cent figure they picked out was a national figure. When schools within the same area are examined, the figure for children on free meals is almost identical – just under 10 per cent."

Willetts has been exposed as an unprincipled charlatan who twisted the facts to support Cameron's anti-grammar agenda. His new nickname should be "two faces".

I'm afraid that I fail to see how any of the above excerpts reassures traditional Tory supporters in any way at all unfortunately. Let's hope that the bits that do are just not in the parts of Cameron's speech reproduced on CH.

Reality Check: The only areas which have Grammar Schools are, generally, in middle class enclaves like Kent and Buckingham. So if Willets compared Grammar schools in Buckingham with Comprehensives in Buckingham it would have been meaningless, as there are hardly any children in areas with Grammar schools who would be eligible for free school meals anyway.

Anyway, as a leftie I feel bound to point out that the most underprivileged children live in 1-parent households, and the cure to child poverty is not as simple as making single parents get married.

"Education, education, education"

That's a good slogan ... wonder who thought of that?

Education, education, education was me, Richard, summarising DC's words. Only those words in speech marks are Mr C's.

"Tory policies will be thought-out: "People have had enough of Labour’s fast-food politics: they want something more serious and more substantial."
That has got to be at the heart of David Cameron's agenda over the coming years. First and foremost I want to see competent management from a Conservative government, Labour's biggest failure has been to worry and chase every newspaper headline while ignoring the practicalities and end results of its policy initiatives.
Education is a prime example of this, they have engineered a system whereby the outcome is not a better education for all but rather improved "statistics" for them to brandish in speeches. The reality does not reflect this and we have failed a generation of children and parents as a result.

Not a word on Defence; I wonder why, especially when the Armed Forces are grossly over stretched in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the Soviet Union, sorry, Russia, is threatening Europe with ballistic missiles again. I'm an old Cold War warrior; I've been there, done that, got the T-shirt, and I still worry about it!

Good point, Mike. I think I'll try and write my own ideal speech over the next few days. Defence would certainly be a key component...

Thank you Tim, and I shall be very interested in what you have to say, but I'd much rather Cameron did it!

'Own ideal speech...' That sounds an interesting idea for some sort of feature - send in your ideal leadership speech; or speech you'd make at conference as a candidate for the leadership, or something. *ponders*

Not much to reassure me I'm afraid.

For example he says: ”Parents know best what works for their kids" Really? Then why won't he let them choose schools that do not stream, or schools that select by ability? (Unless they are wealthy of course.)

Why won't he keep his promise to leave the EPP now?

Why does he continue to believe in positive discrimination?

Why does he argue for tokenism (e.g. a bicycle accompanied by a car with papers) and crazy things like a progressive tax on travel, rather than for common sense in environmental policy?

But most of it is waffle, and not even new.

So this is Cameron's contribution to the lumbering 'Save Dave' campaign. CCHQ is no doubt already pencilling in dates for the big 'Relaunch'.

Sorry Dave. It's too little too late.

Back from a weekend with the family, and now catching up with CH.com! This seems, despite the best efforts of a small handful of commenters, to be a positive step, especially coming on the back of the efforts to widen, rather than narrow, our policy development process earlier this weekend. I hope, by the way (wrong thread, I know!), that Associations embrace the “Stand Up, Speak Out” component of the next phase of our policy work, and help weave it in to the work that I know the Party already has planned for this summer.

I know that some people here seem disappointed that this is not a great departure from previous policy speeches from the leadership. Personally, I disagree – we’ve lacked a leadership in the past prepared to hold the course. I think the reassurance here should come from the efforts to pull together the whole picture – a little “and theory”, if I might be so bold as to steal a phrase from Tim! We need a narrative, something we really haven’t had at this point in the last few parliaments, not just a series of disparate speeches, and this (in combination with the more detailed work I alluded to earlier) fits the bill.

I did start to deal with some of the detailed points raised above, but realised that this post was going to grow exponentially and was going to be deleted by the editors, so perhaps I should do that another time - soon!

Ok, that's the Cameron Party's approach to the 20% of Parliament's remit which it still controls... (Familiar polices as they are the same sort of stuff we've been getting during 10 years of Blairism.)

No mention of the EU, which creates and directs the remaining 80% of laws under which we struggle...

No surprises there then.

A good speech if it includes above. It restates what many have said about applying Conservative principles to modern problems etc. However I think the big issue is how the process of policy formation is managed and secondly how it is presented to the press. To date we have had the problem that if we present detailed policy Labour copy it but we also have the problem that if we don't put more meat on the bone, people say that the DC project has no substance. A careful line has to be trod here. My feeling is that we should focus on 2 or 3 big issues and say to the public that we want to really solve those. We could then really go for it and out compete Laboour on substance. This combined with DCs accepted charisma would be a potent force,


My feeling is that we should focus on 2 or 3 big issues and say to the public that we want to really solve those. We could then really go for it and out compete Laboour on substance.

Especially if we present solutions where we use the "Stand up, Speak Out" public meetings to get (yes, I know, not statistically controlled) evidence for some policy proposals.

"Oh, it wasn't a scientifically controlled poll, Gordon? Remind me who your ideas were debated by at the Labour (*cough* deputy) leadership hustings again, Gordon?"

Bring it on...

Border police? Has he forgotten what happened when Michael Howard came up with a similar idea? The European Commission pointed out in no uncertain terms that it was EU competence now. Is Mr Cameron going to change that and if so, how?

By the way, "education, education, education" was first said by V. I. Lenin.

"The only areas which have Grammar Schools are, generally, in middle class enclaves like Kent and Buckingham."

That's untrue. The London Borough of Sutton has a cluster of outstanding maintained selective schools. On the basis of last year's GCSE results, Sutton ranked at the top of the Local Educational Authorities in England:

The instructive insight is that Sutton has been been at or near the top of the league table, based on AVERAGE attainment in the GCSE exams, from the start of the present generation of league tables in the early 1990s. The local mix of maintained, selective, academic schools, and comprehensives incontrovertibly produces outstanding average GCSE attainment compared with other LEAs - on the evidence of the results.

Some of the local cluster of selective maintained schools are indeed academically outstanding by any standard - achieving better A-level results than Eton, as can be confirmed from this link:

There isn't a strong positive correlation between local deprivation and school results in London - not least because of the implications of the Greenwich judgement which means pupils can and do attend schools which are not in the same borough as where they live:

"It was back in 1989 that what has become known throughout the education world as 'the Greenwich judgement' established that local education authority-maintained schools may not give priority to children simply because they live in the council’s geographical area."

This means that the maintained selective schools in Sutton cannot restrict entry to the children of local residents and many pupils attending Sutton's selective schools can be observed commuting daily from across a large swathe of south London.

In an exercise a few years back by Barclays Capital to compare disposable personal incomes after adjustment for housing costs across local authority districts, Sutton came out on par with Milton Keynes, which is not usually considered unusually affluent.

"Parents know best"

I totally agree William (23:03), that phrase particularly sticks in the craw following Cameron's latest demolition of parents right to choose.

He even addresses Brown and says "Gordon, the top-down days are over", 'forgetting' that Graham Brady had to resign over Cameron imposing, um, top-down educational structures, teaching methods and even racial mixes on schools.

Cameron is a total top-down authoritarian, making his words, at best, dishonest.

Project Cameron is now too obviously just a positioning exercise that like Brown, can feel the changing wind so feels the need to pay lip service to it, whilst having no intention of really delivering the policies they know the public are demanding.

In principle, it all sounds very nice. However, putting it into practice is another thing entirely and just looking at one area, that of 'streaming' in schools, I am concerned that this approach consists of yet more kneejerks, rather than involving a real consideration for the impact upon those who will actually be involved. It basically rings a little bit too much like the 'top-down' politics that he is apparently trying to draw a line against.

Well~ this traditional Conservative supporter is certainly not reasuured by all this

oops typo error~ the word is of course, 'reassured'

Conservatives will trust the people

Good, can my shooting club friends have their handguns back?

His speech is pathetic. Hes obviously panicking now.

I will not be posting for some weeks due to a major operation. God willing I will be back to lend the benefit of my long experience as a Conservative, a Christian and an ex-serviceman who has served his country.

The really good news I have noticed since I first came here is that more and more members are coming to realise just how dreadful these people are. Not just Cameron but the whole bunch around him. You only have to read the posts here to see that the party is totally fed up.

The Tory Party will live again and it will be reborn and successful thanks to the many good people who oppose these hypocrites.

God bless all of you.

I think this website needs to broaden its appeal so that it attracts more moderate Conservatives.

"The only areas which have Grammar Schools are, generally, in middle class enclaves like Kent and Buckingham."

The only areas that have PFI-Academies are inner city sink areas.......

Guess which schools Cameron wants to expand at a cost of £45,000,000,000

I'm in sympathy with what you write EML. I hope you've seen my piece on 'progressive conservatism'. You'll be seeing a lot more of that in the next few weeks.

"Parents know best what works for their kids. Doctors and nurses know best how to improve the NHS and give patients great healthcare...."

Why should we be acknowledging the ability of parents to decide what is best for their children but at the same time deferring to the providers - doctors and nurses - when it comes to healthcare? I really do worry that we've already suffered 'producer capture' on the health issue, something which seriously impedes any chance of reform in the healthcare area. I don't want doctors and nurses deciding issues of health-strategy any more than I want my taxi-driver to decide where he's going to take me.

Thanet is a part of Kent which is completely unlike the rest of the county. The BBC news highlighted this last week over immigration. Thanet is not a part of the so called middle class enclave.

I think this website needs to broaden its appeal so that it attracts more moderate Conservatives.

Every day this site is updated with the latest 'party' items which are making news.

Don't 'moderate Conservatives' like discussing such matters?

Not suprisingly I agree with pretty much everything Cameron has to say today. The fact that he has felt it necessary to make this speech tells us something. 'Grammargate' has been very damaging I think both to DC personally but also the party . I hope that Cameron is successful in repairing the damage and that most elements within the party will unite once again and remember the common purpose of defeating Labour.

Im pretty sure the Party has always been united. Its oh so easy to say the party is split over grammar schools. I find the party was rather united against Cameron and Willetts on that issue...

Traditional Tory, It's not that we more moderate types can't discuss things on this site, it's just that the tone of the site and the contributions by the most dedicated addicts give one a sense of banging one's head against a brick wall. A shift away from the normal 25 contributors towards some more progressive thinking would perhaps make it seem more worthwhile engaging in constructive debate. Tim, your comments above are very welcome.

Annoyingly I cant read PDF files since I lack the requisite technologies. I have to wait till the speech appears on the Tory Party website.

Frustratingly that means a wait of several days...

Re "I think this website needs to broaden its appeal so that it attracts more moderate Conservatives." What on earth is a "moderate" Conservative?

A moderate Conservative would be a Cameroon basically...of course the term moderate is put in to distinguish it from its cousin, the extreme right wing imperialist first-born child eating, milk snatching, Thatcherites...

Yes, James. The expression "moderate Conservative" presumably does not include "traditional Tories" or put simply what many of us formerly would simply consider "Conservatives" with no qualifier.

I have read that piece, Editor, and it is very welcome. I do indeed read most items on this site, and they are excellent posts for the most part.

As Happy Tory alludes to above, I just get rather depressed when I scroll down to the comments and mostly see Maskell's child-eaters foaming at Cameron's attempts to drag in more voters to the party fold.

Thanks Happy Tory. I agree that there's a problem and I'm working to address it.

Heaven forbid that a Conservative might disagree with Cameron...

You deliberately miss the point, Maskell. Disagreement is obviously fine and very welcome in a broad party, but the problem is that (at a guess) 90% of the contributors on this site are hostile, and many of these are very disagreeable, with personal attacks on Cameron sometimes evident.

So Unhappy Tory, 'Moderate Tories' (ie 'Roons) get depressed when Antiroons argue against the Cameron agenda.

Do you suppose long-serving Tories are full of the joys of Spring when we see the things that are being said and done in our name? Many of us disagree and we're prepared to stand up and say so. If you can't hold your ground and argue back that's very sad.

the tone of the site and the contributions by the most dedicated addicts give one a sense of banging one's head against a brick wall

So who are the 'headbangers now? ;)

Unobjectionable "motherhood & apple pie" speech. I like apple pie - unless it has cloves in it, whereupon I decline a slice!

Therefore depends on more detail of the ingredients, including the usual "banging on about" topics, which need to be firmed up.

the problem is that (at a guess) 90% of the contributors on this site are hostile, and many of these are very disagreeable, with personal attacks on Cameron sometimes evident.

Apart from that being a ludicrous exaggeration (I would say it's running about 60/40 against Cameron) it begs the obvious question why more keen Cameroons are not coming forward to defend him

The usual blind spot, of course. Extremely offensive messages attacking, inter alia, Graham Brady, Patrick Mercer and Norman Tebbit have recently been posted and guess which faction were responsible for those?

Hostile are we, personal attacks eh?

Which Party Leader started out by declaring us unfit to be candidates and went on to describe us as delusional

Nothing personal about those remarks I suppose, nothing any of us might have found very disagreeable.

If you live by the sword, you die by the sword. Deal with it.

Annoyingly I cant read PDF files since I lack the requisite technologies.


These BBC reports of a few years back are useful antidotes to popular misconceptions about the location of affluent areas in England and Wales once incomes data are adjusted to take account of differences in local housing costs:

"A Sheffield suburb has been named as the wealthiest place in England outside London and the south east. A survey by Barclays has found that nearly 8% of people in the Sheffield Hallam constituency earn more than £60,000 a year. This puts it in 17th place in the top 20 of most affluent places ahead of traditionally wealthy areas such as Twickenham and Windsor. The only other district outside the south east in the top 20 is the Tatton constituency in Cheshire."

"The richest people in England live in the north, not the south-east, once house prices are taken into account, a study has calculated. The study, from Barclays Private Clients, looked at people's wealth in England and Wales after the cost of living - including house prices - were taken out. It found that eight of the 10 wealthiest places were in northern English counties.

"Tatton in Cheshire, home to David and Victoria Beckham, as well as ex-Tory MP Neil Hamilton and his wife Christine, topped the league.

"The study found the actual average wage in Tatton was £29,303.
But that was worth a 'real' average income of £41,506 once the cost of living was taken into account, it said.

"Hallam in Sheffield came a close second with an average 'real' income of £41,289."

Try also:

That the London Borough of Sutton is an example of an area that isn't a middle class enclave is somewhat amusing. Sutton has only 8.1% of students in secondary schools in receipt of free school meals (http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200304/cmhansrd/vo040524/text/40524w11.htm) so I hardly see how it is an example of a more deprived area which does well by having both grammar schools and comprehensives. Just because it is a London borough does not automatically make it deprived...

I have been screaming for a border police force on my blog for at least two years now!
It's reaching the time for some flesh and meat to be put on the bones of our policy commitments without offering too much for Brown to steal of course.

Well, Leftie, I'm unclear about the relevance of that.

As the Barclays Capital analysis showed, after adjusting incomes for local housing costs, Sutton is only moderately affluent.

The regular ranking of the borough at or near the top of successive annual Local Education Authority league tables for England, based on the AVERAGE attainment of candidates in the GCSE exams, demonstrates that the local mix of maintained selective schools and comprehensives has been hugely successful at raising average attainment in the exams at Sutton schools.

Because of the Greenwich judgement of 1989 (see above for link), Sutton's maintained selective schools are unable to restrict entry to local residents. The predictable outcome is that many students at the schools commute in from out of the borough.

Get on a bus in the vicinity of the schools near the end of the school day - as I often do on my way to shop at a local superstore - and students in significant numbers can be observed commuting out of the borough or to local railway stations for train connections.

This is the cause of a standing local grievance, which often crops up in local council elections, but it requires national legislation to overturn the Greenwich judgement. Meanwhile, the effect is to diffuse any direct association between local affluence and Sutton's regular ranking near the top of LEA league tables.

The sentiment of a goodly proportion of local people is probably that we are fortunate in having a local cluster of outstanding schools in the borough - no one is compelled to try for the entry exams but those who are successful can access standards of education attainable at some of the best fee-paying schools in the country. However, I do understand why those sufficiently affluent to be able to send their children to good private sector schools might wish to protect their costly investments. Besides, we also have this worrying research:

"The UK's most expensive private schools are producing pupils who achieve the worst grades at university, according to research. An eight-year study of graduates' results by researchers at the University of Warwick suggests that the more parents pay in school fees, the less chance their children have of getting a good degree."

I'm sorry, I fail to see how high housing costs proves that Sutton isn't a middle class area..surely it proves the opposite! The fact that there are high housing costs does not mean that area becomes automatically non-middle class. The point of using free school meal data is that it is a nationally recognised measure of the wealth of an area.

Now, would parents who do not care about their children's education bother to apply to a selective school outside their borough? Children who come in from outside their own borough to selective schools, I would contend, are far more likely to be more affluent than local residents as it takes time, money (tutoring) and effort to apply to selective schools. It also skews the GCSE results to be higher than they might otherwise be - the selective schools can be far more selective due to the huge numbers of applicants. And I don't quite see the relevence of the whole private school article either, although it is very interesting.

My basic jist is that even if Sutton didn't have Grammar schools, it would still have high average attainment in GCSEs and A-levels.

"The UK's most expensive private schools are producing pupils who achieve the worst grades at university, according to research.

Doesn't matter - they will still land on their feet. Certain professions and jobs depend on where you went to school more than what degree you got. The investment in public schools is worth it for those who enter law or the City or management consulting or Financial PR.

I bet public school education correlates better with salary than degree class does.

"My basic jist is that even if Sutton didn't have Grammar schools, it would still have high average attainment in GCSEs and A-levels."

The point - surely - is that by the Barclays Capital survey (as per posted links above) estimating incomes adjusted for local housing costs, there are many, many districts more affluent that Sutton which don't have its mixture of a cluster of outstanding maintained selective schools and comprehensives.

The result is that those more affluent districts do not regularly feature at or near the top of the league tables for LEAs based on AVERAGE attainment in the GCSE exams as Sutton does.

On the evidence, the Sutton school mix has been more successful at achieving good AVERAGE GCSE results than many more affluent areas which have not retained maintained selective schools. QED.

Well first of all you are assuming that an area with high housing costs = a less affluent area. I would dispute this. Kensington and Chelsea is an area of exceptionally high housing costs, but to dispute its status as an affluent area would be disingenuous at best.

I pointed to the free school meals measure - Sutton has the lowest percentage of children actually claiming (not just eligible) free school meals out of all the London boroughs mentioned - because it is a nationally recognised measure for the affluence of a particular area and a particular school. The Barclays Capital Study, although thought-provoking and interesting, is not.

Sutton's average results are skewed still higher, if, as you mentioned, children from outside the borough commute in. This increases the pool of children that Sutton selective schools can admit and results in the brightest children being 'creamed off'. If an area in Sheffield does not have better results than one of the most affluent London boroughs, I think this has less to do with Grammar schools and more to do with historic underinvestment in schools in the North coupled with poor economic conditions.

Wonderful, wonderful speech. He's got it right.

Leftie - The strange fact is that the percentage of working age people in Sutton with Level 4 (approximately degree level) qualifications is actually BELOW the average for London boroughs but somewhat above the average for local authority districts in England - source, published in May 2004, is at: http://www.dfes.gov.uk/rsgateway/DB/SFR/s000463/pdf14-2004v4.pdf

I would suggest that it is at least challenging the streotyping of Sutton as affluent compared with other London boroughs, to see that the percentage of working age residents in Sutton with Level 4 qualifications is lower than the average for all London boroughs - a rather paradoxical feature if Sutton is supposedly so affluent.

The problem with using the percentage of pupils eligible for free school meals as a proxy for local poverty is the familiar one of bias in take-up rates because of peer group pressures. However, I do agree that out-of-borough pupils at Sutton schools are likely to come from more affluent homes.

On the Barclays Capital ranking of districts by incomes adjusted for housing costs, Sutton comes well down the pecking order:

We therefore still need to account for the inferior average attainment in GCSE exams of all those more affluent LEAs than Sutton but which lack its mix of outstanding selective maintained schools and comprehensives.

Stand Up Speak Up is to be a new front on policy formation, with the entire country allowed to take part? I thought it used to be called the Conservative Policy Forum...

Whats the role of the CPF? I thought it was to get the views of the people on the street. CPF groups are able to contact outside organisations and other people...this new set up is nothing new.

This speech is nothing more than a restating of already existing groups and policy. There is nothing new in this speech at all.

Well I think we will have to agree to disagree on this one! But as a final thought, Grammar schools in an area (London) where they are in short supply will always have attainment far above the average simply because so many people apply to them. I don't think the answer to raising standards is as simple as creating Grammar schools - as Willets said, we should all be looking to improve standards in all schools, not just Grammar schools.

While welcoming the general principle of trusting the people, the speech reads as disappointingly superficial. Maybe it sounded better in person but my impression is that it wouldn't inspire the listener to go once more in the breach.

taking one area as an example, it is all very well talking about police reform. But in order to free police to spend more time on the frontline, there has to be a commitment to cut all the fetters and burdens imposed on the police by the Human Rights Act and other politically correct nostrums. When it comes to the crunch, would a Cameron-led government have the strength of will to face down all the lobby groups?

The same question applies mutatis mutandis to other policy areas such as immigration.

"I don't think the answer to raising standards is as simple as creating Grammar schools - as Willets said, we should all be looking to improve standards in all schools, not just Grammar schools."

The notion of a grammar stream in every school anytime real soon is simply naive laughable nonsense when we still have secondary schools that can only teach a mash-up called "general science" and can't even get 10 per cent of their 16 year-olds up to the standard of 5 GCSEs A*-C grades, including maths and English.

In fact, only half of all 16 year-olds can achieve that standard now. And Britain is near the bottom of the league of affluent countries when it comes to staying on in education after 16:

"Last year [2004], a report from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) revealed that Britain came seventh from bottom in a league table of staying-on rates for 19 countries. Only Mexico and Turkey had significantly lower rates of participation for this age group. Italy, New Zealand, Portugal and Slovakia have marginally lower rates."

"Only half of those on apprenticeships in England finish them, the chief inspector of adult education has found.
Although standards of training had improved dramatically overall, David Sherlock said low apprenticeship completion rates were 'unacceptable'."

Unsurprisingly, an accessible piece in The Economist for 26 August 2006 showed that Britain is unusually well-endowed with low-skilled young people compared with other European countries:

"Government research obtained by The TES compares the results of pupils in England with teenagers in other countries. The findings weaken ministers’ claims that pupils are getting better at English, maths and science. . . The analysis found evidence that pupils who had achieved average results in key stage 3 tests in English, maths and science and GCSEs performed worse in the 2003 tests than those in 2000."
Times Educational Supplement 18 August 2006

I would say that the UK's bad staying on rate was due to the structure of the education system. If, say, in France you want to leave school at 16 you will do so with no qualifications. If you leave school at 16 in the USA you will leave with no qualifications. But if you leave school at 16 in the UK you leave, generally, with GCSEs which are often the only qualifications needed for entry level jobs. UK GCSEs are of the same level as American high school diplomas.

Right, we both agree that the education system needs to be better - much better. But surely we should be improving education for all children, making sure that all children are being taught three separate sciences rather than just improving education for the most affluent 25% of children. (I say most affluent because, as happened when Grammar schools existed, middle class parents had their children tutored and therefore many more of them got into Grammar shcools)

'Unapologetic about the caution on tax: "That’s why it is the absolute expression of our traditions, not the denial of them, when we say that we will put economic stability first'

Why does he continue to parrot this ridiculous nonsense about economic stability before tax cuts ? The lack of a coherent and plausible economic strategy is to my mind the biggest void in all this drivel. At a time when the tax burden is the highest for decades, the amount of GDP filched by the state has risen to 44%, millions have lost their pensions through no fault of their own, the levels of personal debt and bankruptcy have reached new heights, and an old lady of 86 is facing jail for her inability to pay a council tax which has doubled since 1993, Cameron has absolutely nothing to say about relieving the burden of taxation - instead attempting to create a false antithesis between this and 'economic stability'. Can't someone explain to him the economic facts of life ? When The Sun says that he has not the faintest idea how ordinary people live, sadly it seems that it is absolutely right.

The comments to this entry are closed.



ConHome on Twitter

    follow me on Twitter

    Conservative blogs

    Today's public spending saving

    New on other blogs

    • Receive our daily email
      Enter your details below:

    • Tracker 2
    • Extreme Tracker