Continuing in their efforts to democratise or mediocritise our society, the government has published a bill to control schools’ admissions practices.
Under current processes certain schools give preference to children of past pupils or apply selection criteria such as entrance examinations or parental interviews.
The government argues that such “elitist” behaviour is unjustly biased against migrants, children with disabilities or newcomers to a community.
I believe schools have the right to create a particular ethos and select prospective pupils accordingly. It ensures high standards are maintained and builds a sense of cohesion. That is not to say that it precludes diversity, which is an important component of any pedagogical environment.
The Labour Party has always been critical of private schools and has not hidden their desire to see them brought into the public system. It is likely that the next budget will see a reduction or abolition of the state subsidy to fee paying schools.
Last month 12 fee paying schools announced their intention to open discussions about changing their status, in light of the cuts in funding, coupled with economic pressures affecting parents’ ability to pay.
Ironically Labour’s Education Minister Ruairi Quinn, who is leading the charge against fee paying schools, has sent his own children to private institutions.
Once again this government is seeking to impose its specious ideology of “fairness”, which in actuality constitutes a race to the bottom and the universal lowering of standards, on institutions that should be free to control their own destinies and determine how they approach their critical mission of educating the future citizens of this country.