We learn from our boys’ local school that not only is the excellent headmistress being deployed more or less permanently to an even tougher job posting in Siberia, but the superb young teacher who taught boy #1 last year is being taken back into the state pool.
Such is success punished and failure rewarded by Scotland’s educational commissariat!
No wonder that the evidence on state school performance is worrying, to say the least. But, as I pointed out in The Scotsman last week, this evidence is rapidly being suppressed so that the plight of our schools can be ignored in the march towards progressive nirvana that is the happy destiny proscribed for all of us by the powers that be at Holyrood.
I’ve no idea why schools can’t recruit and retain the teachers they want, and also set their pay and conditions. And their own curricula, for that matter, along with mending their own roofs, choosing their own plumber and power supplier and building their own facilities.
The main reason why the cost of schooling has gone up by 50% since 2000 while results have gone down is that state schools don’t have the autonomy they need to innovate and make the most of available resources.
Take pay and conditions by way of example. I calculate that, to live the same lifestyle in London as I do in the Scottish Borders, my income would have to go up by at least 1,200%
And yet, when the UK government tentatively suggested that public sector workers should be paid according to regional circumstances, the Labour Party, the SNP and the unions had a collective seizure (evil Brits again plotting against Scotland, you see).
The good news is, as I’ve mentioned before, that the Borders Party has control of the education portfolio here, so we can hope for some improvement at last. But what if attempts at reform are thwarted by the meddlesome Scottish Government?
Well, a local friend has established that people in Scotland or Wales are allowed to attend an English Free School or Academy.
Free Schools and Academies are the excellent innovation south of the border whereby independent schools are financed by the State. I say innovation – the idea is commonplace in many other countries, which is why education in Holland, for example, is so much better than it is here. In essence all schools are ‘public schools’, and all are ‘publicly funded’! Of course, such schools are banned in Scotland so that only the rich can go to independent schools by paying twice over. An educational Iron Curtain is falling across our island.
Or so I feared! Since we’re just 10 miles from the Border, we can leap over, like that East German fellow with the machine gun! I may be writing to Michael Gove, the UK Education Secretary, who initiated the reform.
What the Barnett consequential of all this is, though, boggles the mind.