A leap into the unknown

13th August 2004 at 01:00
In rock climbing, there is something called "a committed moment". If you're halfway across a gaping hole, you don't have a chance of getting back and starting again. It's all or nothing at all.

Jack McConnell had his committed moment in accepting the idea of philanthropic funding for deprived children in Scotland's secondary schools (TESS, July 16).

Scottish Executive haste to protect the eternal verities of Scottish education was almost indecent. Of course, schools would not be privately run; of course, the taxpayer would foot big bills; of course, and by a factor of 10, Scottish schools would remain comprehensive.

To no avail. The big guns kept up their steady barrage of ideologically pure and predictable opposition led, as always, by the Educational Institute of Scotland whose annual meetings one would have thought had covered every facet of disapproval for any input into schools except its own.

I spent 28 years working in Wellhouse, the creme de la creme of deprived areas in Glasgow. Believe me, money from wherever would have been welcome. A Jesuit education forbids me from accepting the moral validity of the end justifying the means, but there were times when I could have been tempted.

I can't wait for the turn on the stocks of Peter Peacock, the Education Minister, when he lets us know more about Jack's leap into the unknown.

Joseph Kelly

St Kilda Drive, Glasgow

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