Tuesday 31 January 2012

The end of State Education, at last.

"Good evening, thanks very much for asking me to give this year's Rupert Murdoch Lecture on education - and thanks first to him for being a beacon of truth in a sea of lies and misinformation. Today marks the day when we have finally got rid of state education. This great parasitic octopus that has sucked the lifeblood out of the nation and delivered to those of us in business millions of illiterates will, under this government, have its tentacles removed and its body buried.

Please welcome in its place: variety, diversity, specialism and choice. Put it this way, if you're a parent, you will quite literally have no idea who your local school is funded by or how. It could be national government, local government, a church or other religious organisation, a business, a charity, a trust, a foundation - or all 7 at the same time. Exciting or what?

Apart from some key features of the curriculum - like phonics - central government are butting out of education. They're leaving it to the real experts - teachers, interested business people like me, and any organisation prepared to take on schools. On the minister's desk at this very moment are proposals from zoos, oil companies, banks, third world charities, housing companies, Oxford colleges, my business - weapon systems - and many more. Who knows, in a year or two's time you could well find opening up next to you the Facebook Primary School, the Royal Bank of Scotland High, Oxfam Academy or whatever.

And look, in widening up these opportunities for schools, teachers and pupils, I'm pleased to say that the government are going to look again at the old division between fee-paying and non-fee-paying schools. I have in mind that once we've broken the grip of the revolutionary communists and trotskyists who run local government across England, we'll be able to introduce means testing into the schools that used to be public sector. In other words, those who can afford it, will pay.

To those who say that the longterm consequence of all this is that some schools will go to the wall, I say, so what? That kind of school doesn't deserve to stay open. That will be a school with poor teachers letting down the children. So pupils and teachers can decamp to the good school down the road. In fact, there will be exciting times in many children's school careers where they will literally be roving the streets looking for a school to go to. It's what we do when we hunt for a bargain, so no reason why it shouldn't  be like that when choosing a school. "