A first-class education is a right, not a privilege

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Closure

I was sad the hear of the closure of the Chaucer Technology School earlier this year as my son was a pupil there.

When Joe failed his Kent Test he was very depressed. We chose the Chaucer as the only school looking anything like a Comprehensive in the area at the time. In order to get into the school he had to do another test; which he passed, with flying colours.

This cheered him up no end.

Joe went on to get three A levels and a First Class Honours degree. He now works in the photography industry as a freelance technician and is much in demand for his skills and his practical intelligence.

The Kent Test would have condemned him as a failure at the age of eleven. It was the Chaucer which gave him the confidence to discover where his real intelligence lay.

I’m puzzled at how the Chaucer ended up failing as a school. When my son went there, in the nineties, it was a first class institution.

Comprehensive

My own schooling was undertaken at Sheldon Heath Comprehensive School in Birmingham. It was the first specially built comprehensive in the country and the largest.

That too, like the Chaucer, went through emergency measures recently. It closed and was re-opened as the King Edward IV Sheldon Heath Academy in 2010.

And yet the school that I went to was anything but a failure. It was a flagship school of the newly devised comprehensive system and served me and my contemporaries very well. A number of my friends went on to get degrees and to forge successful careers.

The only explanation I can think of is that successive governments have messed around so much with the education system, pulling it first one way, and then the other, that they have undermined the very foundations of education in this country.

The latest news is that the Chaucer is likely to re-open at some point in the future, but as a secondary, rather than a technology school, which sounds like an admission of failure to me.

A first class education is a right, not a privilege, and should be available to all.

© 2016 Whitstable Views

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The Whitstable Gazette.
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Published by christopherjamesstone

CJ Stone is an author, columnist and feature writer. He has written six books: Fierce Dancing: Adventures in the Underground (Faber & Faber 1996); The Last of the Hippies (Faber & Faber 1999); Housing Benefit Hill & Other Places (AK Press 2001); The Trials of Arthur (with Arthur Pendragon: Thorsons/Element 2003); The Trials of Arthur Revised Edition (with Arthur Pendragon: The Big Hand 2010); & The Empire of Things (Gonzo multimedia 2013). He is currently working on his seventh. From 1993 till 1998 he was a regular columnist with the Guardian Weekend in the UK. His column Housing Benefit Hill was a runaway hit, observing life on a run down housing estate in a small town in England, while his travel column CJ Stone's Britain took a wry look at the state of Britain in the 90s. From 2003-2008, he ran a column for Prediction magazine. Other columns include a fortnightly column for The Whitstable Times and columns for Mixmag & the Big Issue. Currently he writes a fortnightly column for The Whitstable Gazette and makes regular contributions to the Guardian on-line, the London Review of Books and Kindred Spirit magazine.

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