Friday, June 11, 2010

Thought for the day - Kent Education Class Discrimination From West to East

Many would agree with me that Kent’s education is a divisive mishmash of privilege and discrimination which is not just about the flawed grammar system.

It’s long been known that in West Kent, grammar schools actively discriminate against the interest of local children who have passed the Kent Test and instead, favouring kids from affluent families across South London.

Last week the “Thanet Heads Group” were suggesting that foster kids are no longer welcome in Thanet’s schools, apparently, so upset they penned a letter to KCC referring to “considerable problems” and suggesting “enough is enough”.

According to an article in last weeks Gazette, Thanet heads do not appear to have been specific or articulated enough to give any compelling (in my opinion) reasons for wishing to deter vulnerable youngsters other than a bland “pressure on services”

Not all Head’s take the same view, to his credit Ian Johnson principal of The Marlowe Academy, was generous and fair with this comment "I don't support my fellow head teachers because these students deserve our support and they are here.

Yes of coarse it’s regrettable that children have to be fostered, it may also be wrong for them to wash up in our part of Kent, however its a issue that is unlikely to change.

Thanet is a tough place to live, local Head Teachers ought to accept the area for what it is, this area is deprived and fostering has become a job for some, which doesn’t imply in my mind that kids are better or worse off in Thanet.

Perhaps if Thanet’s heads are so against teaching vulnerable kids they could get themselves a job in the west of the county, where certain schools quite openly discriminate against the local population and all KCC does is take resources from the east of the county.


  1. Lets have more selective Schools and let the rest sink with BP

  2. These heads should not be teaching in any of KCC's schools. Let them set up their own free schools and KCC can get in some heads that will treat each child equally. Its not a child's fault that they are being fostered in Kent.

  3. Tony, what is the Liberal Democrat position on selection in schools? And does their traditional view coincide with what they are now signing up to within the coalition?

  4. 3:59 Bollix

    07:23 agreed

    09:52 I don't know what is the Lib Dem position but no doubt you're dying to tell me! Whatever the Lib Dems line on selective schools mine has always been that Kent's systems is Bent.

    Brief note to all other contributors except 9:52 and professional taxpayer funded Labour politician Mark Nottingham, I happen to be a supporter and member of the Liberal Democrats this does not mean I have become a zombie, which is why I hold my own views which may or may not coincide with official Lib Dem policy.

    Cllr Mark Nottingham erroneously refers to this blog as Liberal Democrat News Margate, still I guess it wouldn't be the first time he's got things wrong and I doubt the last.

    I have frequently republished the spoutings of his leader Clive Hart so where is the beef.

  5. Actually Tony, mine - 09.52 - was a genuine question. I don't know the answer and am interested. I thought as a member of the Party, you might know. I'll try to find out elsewhere. I happen to share your opposition to the selective system.

  6. I think it would be fair to say they are not in favour of selective education; but strongly in favour of providing extra resources for those children who are being left behind in school.

    Tony, you and I have exchanged views on selective education on a number of occasions, so I will not repeat those debates which stem from your careless, and inaccurate, introduction.

    I note your agreement with Ian Johnston, and have heard this argument many times before. Its an industry here; provides work and incomes for a poor area; takes children for very deprived backgrounds and improves their lives. All of which are, to a degree, true.

    However,the cumulative impact of the looked after children; the asylum seekers; the eastern european workers; the bail hostels; the vulnerable adults; who are sent/left here by local authorities from many miles away, has already been fully documented more than once. The fact that bits of our island have 7 times the average of looked after children than elsewhere in the county/country. The tipping point identified of a community in crisis as so many of those who live here are short term residents with little care for their surroundings. The highest levels of teenage pregnancy where the mothers come from outside the area than anywhere else in the country.

    There comes a point, long since passed in my view, where the cumulative effect of these extra burdens drags down an area or a community to greater disadvantage.

    It shows in all the statistics for parts of our island, and impacts schools,social services, the NHS, policing, the fire service - every public service that operates here struggles to deliver the expected levels of service alongside this extra burden.

    Walk along Northdown Road; count the languages spoken at a nearby school; study the health statistics; compare the 999 calls; assess the case loads of social workers; each tells their own story, together they damage the very fabric of our public services and society.

    We have to keep this issue in the open, under government watch, or it could get truly lost in the decisions needed to restore our country's public finances in the wake of the years of labour disaster. And that would be a tragedy for Thanet.

  7. spot on chris,well said..

  8. Chris, so what are the KCC and TDC councils going to do about it now that they have a government of almost the same political colour in power? Are they going to stop the short term bedsit developments in Thanet? Why cant KCC play tit for tat and dump children back into the offending counties? Is it because businesses in Kent and Thanet are making money at the expense of Thanet's population?

  9. I hope we will get a better hearing from colleagues in government on some of these issues than we have to date.

    Although I must also be fair. Beverley Hughes MP in particular was consistent in her support for ending the movement of children from London boroughs to here throughout her time in government. It is amongst the London Boroughs that most oif the issues arise. Even now one was quoted recently as saying they only sent special cases here; having looked at the numbers they must have an awful lot of special cases.

    Laura Sandys is pledged to help, and will be seeing Boris Johnston, and we have excellent contacts with the relevant ministers.

    It comes down to priorities, of course, which is why we have to keep the issue loud and clear, however and whenever we can.

  10. I've worked at a certain Academy for several years now. Chris - I'd love to believe, like you do, that there is an easily distinguishable scapegoat in all this.

    But the truth is that you could remove every foreign national from Kent, and schools would still be failing. We have some eastern european students who would be in the equivalent of grammar school education back at home, but who come to the specialist schools because of their language departments, and who work harder than any of the english kids. We also have roma kids who've never been in formal education before coming into the country, and whose parents don't support them being there. The latter group have more in common with some of the white kids off the local estates than their fellow eastern europeans. So it's unfair to tar everyone with the same brush. I've seen looked after kids from warzones come in with good work ethics and end up getting dragged down by the English kids.

    Margaters, however articulate, often miss that Cliftonville was turning into bedsit land way before Blair - before Kosovo even. When people pin Margate's decline on immigration, they're putting the cart before the horse.

    The word "education" has become synonymous with "secondary education". If you saw the literacy levels of year 7 students, you'd wonder what on Earth was going on in the feeder schools. They have them for 4 years, and all they have to do is ensure they can read and write their own name.