Ms Kelly, schools are for children

21st January 2005 at 00:00
Ruth Kelly's first public statement says that she wants parents to have choice and that she is "passionate about schools".

While these are noble sentiments, education is, surely, about children. It ought not to be parent-centred, nor school-centred, certainly not government-centred nor economy-centred, but child-centred.

A system in which pupils are confined, regimented, all too often browbeaten and compelled to study so much that ignores their aptitudes, aspirations and interests - on pain of punishment - is hardly child-centred.

I hope Ms Kelly listens to her own children when they complain of school, for there is much to complain about from a pupil`s point of view. Proof of this lies in the truancy figures, the apathy, the hostility, the aggression and a general anti-school attitude among the school population.

It is not parents who need choice, but pupils, at least at senior level.

One doesn`t look for an educational free for all. But genuine, trouble-free, positive learning will continue to elude the nation`s youth while they have so little say over what they do in school day in day out, week in week out, year in year out.

AJ Marsden Retired teacher 9 Chester Drive Ramsbottom Lancashire

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