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Class and Education: TES article


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Fascinating stuff John - I have posted a quick response in between lessons!

Thanks for that. I am hoping that people will post details of their own experiences. The TES is well-known for the reactionary members of its Forum. It will be interesting if they respond to my article.

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Fascinating stuff John - I have posted a quick response in between lessons!

Thanks for that. I am hoping that people will post details of their own experiences. The TES is well-known for the reactionary members of its Forum. It will be interesting if they respond to my article.

I think one of the problems you will encounter is that as part and parcel of being reactionary the majority over there are not terribly reflective either.

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I just tried posting a comment on the TES forum without success (nothing happened when I clicked on the Post button). Here's what I tried to say:

I'm currently a teacher-trainer in Sweden, where class-based education doesn't officially exist. Basically, you go to your local school, and a lot of effort (and money) is invested in making sure that all the local schools are more or less at the same standard.

Class rears its ugly head, of course. There are schools with high proportions of middle-class parents and ones with low proportions, mainly because of geography. However, it's interesting to see how few distortions due to class there are in a society which actively tries to achieve equality of provision. One of the best schools in the city I live in is the one with the 'worst' catchment area. They know they've potentially got problems, and they use the resources they've been provided with to try to deal with them.

Sweden doesn't have league tables - and it doesn't even have examinations. Pupils aren't given grades at all until they're in the last but one year of secondary school. And yet, Swedish pupils consistently score very high in international comparisons. The measure I use is to ask people to look around at the society they've created: the standard of living is very high - and evenly high; the level of social tension is very low; and, strangely enough, despite what's seen as a high level of taxation, it's a very good country to start a business in.

International comparisons aren't always fruitful, but sometimes they can help you to work out what are necessary conditions for success and what aren't. Sweden's relative success as a country (remember that it was only a couple of generations ago that Sweden lost a quarter of its population to economic migration) seems to me to show that the kind of artificial, class-based discrimination in education which is practised in parts of the UK certainly isn't a necessary condition for a successful society.

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