Kelly’s Choice

I wanted to comment on Ruth Kelly’s decision, based on her son’s special needs, to take him out of the mainstream system and into private education.   I know I’m repeating what’s been said by many but they’re my thoughts too. 

Not only does it highlight the social inequalities that are still prevalent in this country under a LABOUR government, but it exposes severe governmental shortcomings within education. 

It was this government who believed, quite rightly in most cases, that special needs children would benefit more by being integrated into mainstream education.  And they were committed to including as many children as possible into mainstream schools.   Fair enough if they then adequately provided the mainstream schools with the evolving resources needed to accomodate these children.  But it’s evident from Kelly’s decision that they’ve grossly failed to do so.  

Of course she is is perfectly within her right to choose what she feels is best for her son but as Education Minister, her policies contradict her beliefs and therefore, in my world, she is  a hypocrite with double standards.

However, now that Kelly is aware of the shortcomings and of the fact that she is very fortunate, unlike most families, to be in the financial position of having a choice (Labour keyword on education!), will she address the issue?

Nah…it will all blow over and it will be another case of “I’m alright Jack.”


8 responses to this post.

  1. I don’t think she’s a hypocrite. I don’t know that her beliefs are against private education. I sincerely hope that her values are to do the best for her children irrespective of what the media might say.


  2. I’m not saying she’s a hypocrite for doing what she feels is best for her child. I’m saying she’s a hypocrite for asking the public to accept a policy that she clearly has no confidence in herself.

    She is a hypocrite for telling the public that she believes in parental choice and equality in education and making pledges to that effect then removing those choices by closing special needs schools or by removing statementing rights for dyslexic children thereby making it extremely hard to get them individual classroom assistance.

    It’s her choice as a mother to send her child to private school as it is for other Labour ministers, past and present, who have actually excercised that right. But their choice clearly illustrates they don’t really believe in the state system and they don’t really believe all their own posturing about how wonderful the state system is and that, in fact, it’s actually not good enough. At least not for their kids. That’s where the hypocrisy lies.

    Kelly shouldn’t have to defend her decisions regarding her own child but if only she would be brave and honest and concede that there actually is a need in some instances for specialist schools, perhaps even pledge to lobby for their return. Or, if she would at least acknowledge that there are serious departmental shortcomings (some under her direct watch) and that children are being let down by a system that her (then) department promised wouldn’t fail them. Then she will have gone some way to redeeming her hypocrisy in my view. Instead she continues to defend her decision while remaining loyal to current educational policy and to a government that *says* it is committed to state provision – a core Labour principle!!

    She is two-faced at best.


  3. Posted by Babybull40 on January 10, 2007 at 1:32 pm

    Like the new look.. with your blog.. nicely done


  4. Thank you BB. 🙂


  5. I think there is a difference between believing that state provision should be good enough and accepting that it isn’t, at least not in her area for her child’s particular special needs – and believing that private education is actually in itself wrong.

    If she believed the latter, then clearly she is hypocritical, but my understanding of her stated belief and policy is that parents should have choice and the state system should be good enough.

    I am not an expert in this, but as her local system cannot provide the help her child needs, then going private is actually her only choice.


  6. That ‘s the thing Zeddie. She hasn’t accepted that state provision is not good enough. She’s only accepted that it’s not good enough for her own son but she wants us all to believe that it’s fine for everybody elses children. I totally don’t blame her for doing what she can for her son but I want her to come clean and declare that state provision in this case actually isn’t good enough for all children in the same situation, not just her own child. I want her to say, yes, the government has failed in its mainstream inclusion policy. But she won’t because she’s towing the party line as they all do.


  7. I agree that the state system has failed her child so she’s been forced to go private – she’s said as much.

    That’s not hypocritical as her child is a special needs case (dyselxic) and her other children remain in the state system – so for her to say that on this one ocassion the state isn’t good enough is borne out by her actions.

    Just as an aside, I personally have no problem whatsoever with private provision of universal services such as education, and think the whole furore illuminates the sheer absurdity of those wedded to state provision as a matter of principle.


  8. I don’t think she’s gone as far as to say the system has failed her child. I think she just said that his particular condition will be better managed at a private school.

    If she does feel the system has failed her and her son, then she needs to be brave and say so publicly instead of insisting on pretending the whole system is perfect. If she’d just come clean and admit the mainstream inclusion policy has been badly mis-managed and neglected, and acknowledge her part in that, she would gain some respect.

    I’ve no problem with her views on private education or anyone else’s. As you say, it’a matter of choice. But let’s be real! It’s only a choice for a fortunate few with a financial status that allows them to have the choice. For most people, private is not an option, hence, no choice.

    Incidentally, although there are extra-special cases, mainstream inclusion is something which I wholeheartedly support and it could have worked if the govt. had not so grossly neglected to resource it.


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