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Chris McGovern: Corbyn’s a threat to good schools. Not that the Tories are much better


It is difficult these days to avoid lurid headlines about the threat posed by Jeremy Corbyn. Indeed, according to some reports, leaders of our armed forces may be contemplating ‘mutiny’ should a Corbyn-led government seek to scale back the military. It seems that the destruction of democracy may be the price we have to pay in order to protect our liberties!

And the protection of liberty, of course, was what the recent Battle of Britain Service was commemorating. Corbyn’s decision not to sing the National Anthem has been widely condemned. He may be a republican but that is no excuse for the lack of respect shown to the memory of “the few” who saved this country and the wider world from Hitler’s vile creed.

Corbyn may have suggested that he will show greater respect in the future for our monarchy and our for national identity but many commentators have expressed real alarm about the new Labour leader’s direction of travel, rooted as it is in the radical Left.

Corbyn’s education policies have not escaped scrutiny and they have set many an alarm bell ringing; not least among conservatives across a spectrum of political opinion. Our few surviving state school beacons of academic excellence, the grammar schools, would be for the immediate ‘chop’, notwithstanding their popularity with parents. Polls indicate that a majority of people, even among Labour supporters, would like to see more grammar schools. As an ex-grammar school boy himself, Corbyn seems keen to kick away the ladder that he climbed.

Indeed, ‘dumbing down for all’, an effective form of ensuring social equality, is at the heart of his vision for schooling.  A National Education Service, paralleling the NHS, will remove what little power is currently devolved to academies and free schools. They will be joining the grammar schools on the educational bonfire. Full power will be back in the hand of the local bureaucrats who have been failing our children for decades.

For all the left wing leanings of Jeremy Corbyn’s education policy, however, he will have to get his skates on if he is ever to catch up with past Conservative  governments. Take grammar schools, for example, it was Margaret Thatcher, as Education Secretary, who oversaw most of their closures, even if it was not what she wanted. Local authority officials, comprehensive school zealots, easily outmanoeuvred her.

And, then, we had a Conservative government, with Keith Joseph as Education Secretary,  abolishing GCE O-Level and CSE exams. This was mission accomplished for left wing educationalists who wanted the all-ability GCSE exam to cement in place the comprehensive school revolution. The left wing march of Conservative government education reform continued with the centralised National Curriculum under Ken Baker. The whole process of exam reform and curriculum reform has, consistently, been hi-jacked by left-wing ‘experts’. Yes, believe it or not, ‘Red Jeremy’, will have quite a fight on his hands if he is to match the Tories in promoting left wing education policies.

All of which takes me back to the spectacle of Jeremy Corbyn not singing the National Anthem at the Battle of Britain Service. Standing close by, joining in the singing, was David Cameron. However, the Prime Minister’s new National Curriculum for History omits any requirement to teach about the Battle of Britain, the two world wars or, indeed, any specific event or personality of British history. Interestingly, he has, though, placed Islamic history and West African History on a compulsory list of topics.

Jeremy Corbyn or David Cameron? Who has most betrayed ‘the few’?

Note: A full exposition of this betrayal can be read in my recent pamphlet. It has been endorsed by both Lord Tebbit (Conservative) and Lord Stoddart (Independent Labour).

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Chris McGovern
Chris McGovern
Chris McGovern is the Chairman of the Campaign for Real Education. A retired head teacher with 35 years’ teaching experience, Chris is a former advisor to the Policy Unit at 10 Downing Street under two Prime Ministers.

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