Monday, January 08, 2007

Media and the idiotic Tara Flood Slam Ruth kelly

The situation: Ruth Kelly, former education minister, has a child with learning difficulties. In consultation with experts who look after her child she is sending her child to an independent school who can help the child best. That is the entire story.

"Does this prove that Labour education policy is failing?"

"All this after Labour closes hundreds of special need schools?"

This not from antagonistic opposition politicians but from the BBC. And in fact the opposition has said "This is a private matter."

Now Tara Flood of the Alliance for Inclusive Education has joined the fray without, I suspect, actually checking on the facts. She is furious that Ruth Kelly, as a minister, should have made this decision for her own child. No, she should do what Tara Flood (whose has never met the child) says and send them to a local mainstream school whether that is good for the child or not. "Segregated Education," Tara Flood provocatively labels Ruth Kelly's personal, private and advised choice.

While I do believe that many children with educational difficulties can benefit from mainstream education, I am also aware that many fair much better in specialised schools where all the emphasis is on special needs, not just some of it. Including everyone might make Tara Flood feel better, but it is not always right for the child.

As for the school in question being independent, very specialised schools often are and the council pays the fees where they need to use them. This makes more sense than the council paying the high capital costs of setting up a school them selves and then having to attract people from out side the council area to make it worthwhile doing.

Of course, the BBC on their Have Your Say page say in bold:

Former Education Secretary Ruth Kelly, is expected to make a
statement later on reports that she is sending one of her children to a
private school."

A nice provocative statement, and nicely misleading. But then, that is becoming the overriding trait of the BBC these days.