The Unrepresentative Coalition Government – The Independent

The Independent has published an article looking at the absence of diversity in the Coalition Government. Below are excerpts from the article as well as a link to the original published on Saturday 7th August:

If Britain looked like its government, about four million adults would have gone to Eton, there would be no black people, and for every one woman there would be six men.

Analysis by The Independent of the social origins of members of the coalition government – the most extensive exercise of its kind – reveals that one-tenth of all the minsters in the Government attended just one public school: Eton. Overall, two-thirds of ministers were educated partly or entirely outside the mainstream state school system, and one in five went to one of the old established top public schools.

The educational background of the Liberal Democrats in government is not dramatically out of line with their Conservative counterparts, adding to suspicions that the coalition is as much a social as a political affair. Some 52 per cent of Liberal Democrat ministers went to state schools, against 35 per cent of Tories; both way lower than the 74 per cent in the last Labour Government and the 93 per cent of all pupils nationally who go to state secondary schools. Cabinet ministers Nick Clegg and Chris Huhne both went to Westminster School.

In some respects, indeed, the Liberal Democrats are even more divorced from the nation as a whole – their ministers are 100 per cent white.

In particular, at a time when the Government is attempting radical reform of the state school system and has cancelled more than 700 school building projects, many may also find it odd that the education department only contains one minister who completed his entire secondary education at a mainstream state school. The Secretary of State Michael Gove (Robert Gordon’s College, Aberdeen and Oxford), plus junior ministers Lord Hill of Oareford (Highgate and Cambridge) and Sarah Teather (Leicester Grammar and Cambridge) were educated independently.

Link to full Article: LINK

Ed Balls leaves Sarah Teather with a lot of explaining to do

Labour leadership candidate Rt Hon Ed Balls MP takes the theme of University Challenge to ask some uncomfortable questions to the Con / Dem Government Education Ministers, One of which is Brent Central MP, Sarah Teather.

Also highlighted was the two Education Ministers’ Oxbridge backgrounds with Michael Gove being referred to as ‘Gove, Lady Margaret Hall (Oxford University)’and Sarah Teather as ‘Teather, St John’s (Cambridge University)’. It will now be interesting to see if Teather now implements the same Tory policies that a few months ago she said they don’t have a clue about.

BAME Labour Bus in Wembley Park

I was out with the BAME (Black and Minority Ethnic) Labour Bus in Asda Wembley Park today which champions the progression of Ethnic Minorities in Politics through the Labour Party. There was a bit of a slow start due to the dirty tactics that had been played by an objection raised by us being there, but we firmly stood our ground.

Brent Labour are doing our bit for the advancement and the drive to improve representation of Ethnic Minorities in politics. 60% of our Brent population  are from an ethnic ‘minority’ background and 60% of our Brent Labour candidates are also ethnic ‘minorities’.

In Dawn Butler, we have the first (and only) Black female Government Minister and one of only two black female MPs in total in Parliament. Voters in the new Brent Central constituency also have the opportunity to have the new Parliamentary seat send a Black candidate in Dawn Butler to Parliament. The alternate choice is Sarah Teather of the Liberal Democrats, who was educated in a Grammar school in Leicester and is one of many Cambridge University graduates in Parliament – of which there are a disproportionate amount in Parliament already.

Why David Cameron is wrong on teacher recruitment

David Cameron has recently stressed that making teaching a profession that attracts the academically elite is the way forward for our education system –  LINK

Firstly, under what the Tory leader is proposing, we would see an influx of individuals who join the profession as a short term measure to pay off a student loan and to reap the financial benefits, not people who have a desired career in the teaching profession.

I don’t believe that making teaching ‘brazingly elitist’ is the way forward. Where David Cameron is right is when he says that “the quality of a teacher is the single most important factor in a child’s educational progress.” However, where we disagree will be on the type of quality; academic or the ability to interact with children effectively.

An individual who has earned a first class degree at Oxford or Cambridge may not necessarily be equipped to control a classroom of over 20 children. Maybe the more qualified have picked up a stronger depth of knowledge. However, what use is this knowledge in a classroom if they are unable to impart this knowledge to a classroom effectively?

Instead teachers should be recruited from a broad range of criteria depending on multiple attributes and not just the grades that they acquired at University.