Dan Poulter at the Stradbroke Country Fair
On his website Dan talks about how he enjoyed listening to the brass band comprised of children from local primary schools.
I had an interesting conversation with Dan about this. The brass band is possible due to an excellent initiative from Suffolk County Council who bought the instruments, provided them to schools to lend to children and funded schools to pay for tuition for the children. As you may know instrumental tuition is usually charged for in Schools which means that only children of parents with enough money can take part. Not so this scheme. Everyone can take part whatever their parents means. The future funding for this tuition and instruments is unclear and Dan's view appeared to be that it is a luxury we cannot afford.
I don't share his view. We need to provide a state education of a high quality for all children in this country and our aim should be to make this every bit as good as private provision. This means despite the nonsense Gove and his ministers have been saying high quality buildings, facilities and things like instrumental tuition and the chance to play in a brass band at the village country fair are in fact really important. After all if they weren't why would private schools bother? You don't see them run out of disused office blocks with no playgrounds.
So far this government has been bad news for schools. They have waded in almost at the end of the academic year apparently even unaware that most schools are concerned with exams and transfers in June and July and tried to rush through changes that can at best be described as dubious. Schools can no longer plan their budgets carefully as we have had to guess what money we have for next year (never mind a three year cycle). The spending review is out of sync with the academic cycle but we need teachers in September. The primary curriculum has been cancelled just as many were about to implement it and an unseemly rush towards creating free schools, academies and trying to sideline if not destroy local authorities begun... the Government needs to slow down, think about what it is doing and stop trying to pretend its "reforms" are meant to improve. They are cuts, plain and simple.
So, Dr Poulter, making politics with Brass Bands is never a good idea! Haven't you seen "Brassed Off"?