Friday, February 13, 2015

Ed & Education, Education, Education

On Thursday lunchtime I went to see Labour leader Ed Miliband at a policy launch on Education which took place at Haverstock school in Camden, North London. This state run comprehensive was where Ed and his brother David were educated.

While waiting for the event to begin I had a chat to a women sitting next to and by coincidence she was a retired former teacher of Ed at this school. Her name was Kate Myers and she was his form teacher and later head of house.

Of course I asked whether she had any juicy gossip about Ed when he was in the school and she shook her head and said "No, he was absolutely lovely".

Graham Lane, former Newham Council Chair of Education, was there and we had a chat about local issues. I must get around to reviewing Graham's excellent book "Local Government and Democracy - an insider's view" which is actually a first hand account of the massive changes in education policy in in recent decades. It has not always been a pretty tale.

The current head teacher of Haverstock, John Dowd, (who has a magnificent trimmed beard) introduced Ed to the audience and said the school always welcomes former pupils, including future Prime Ministers. 

Ed spoke about how important the school and its "extraordinary teachers" had been to him. A good education is imperative not only for pupils but also nations. He announced plans for a future Labour Government to increase spending on Education at least in line with inflation and limit primary school classes to 30. He also wanted parity of esteem for technical and academic qualifications.

In the Q&A the media present ignored education and failed to ask Ed a single question about it and instead only asked about the row between Ed and the Treasurer of the Conservative Party about tax avoidance. While this is an important subject the event was supposed to be about "Education". It goes to show how shallow and irreverent traditional UK media is making itself. I suppose if Ed had talked about changes to private school education they would have shown more interest.

I wasn't picked for the Q&A which was a shame since I was going to welcome his comments about the importance of paying teachers well with making sure that school support staff are also recognised as being vital to a great education and who equally deserve decent pay.

At the end I said to Ed's former teacher Kate that she must be very proud of Ed and what she has helped to achieve. She replied very softly but firmly "Yes, I am".

So there you go all you undecided and floating voters. Vote Ed for Prime Minister. Teacher knows best.
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