Tuesday, 17 July 2007

A hazardous education

After a decade spent in comprehensive education a British youth might not be able to add, subtract or write a coherent sentence but should they trip up in the playground they'll be quids in. Who needs basic life skills when your child could receive £3,400 for a minor school yard scrape?

There's no real correlation between Britain's educational deficit and its compensation culture, of course (I'm being pedantic....) - but the amount that local authorities have been coughing up to injured parties does make it look like LEAs are more concerned with dodging court than discipline and teaching standards.

An older pupil who trespassed on primary school property won nearly £6,000 damages after the gate he was playing on broke and the local council could not prove that the gate had been properly maintained (to sustain the weight said child using it as a swing...). Another child received £12,746 after getting injured during a school hockey match.

I have no issue with compensation for acts of negligence - a wet floor or feckless teacher allowing mayhem - but draw the line at random accidents and childish stupidity.

I'm biased, however, and jealous. I only had two accidents whilst at school, one was a fractured arm acquired after a cartwheel went wrong, the other was a hockey ball in the chest at high speed. Both hurt terribly but a mere fractured arm and some technicolor bruising failed to spur my parents into action. One incident was my fault, the other was unfortunate (though I'll always maintain that Luke, the little git, took aim...).

Two recent pay-outs for the same injuries totalled just over £20,000. That would have been my student debt cleared, this years car insurance and tax, a holiday paid for etc....Damn.

Back to the idea that schools are for learning....Five million adults leave school semi-literature, whilst 17 million barely achieve a pass in GSCE maths. Seven per cent of adults can not answer a sum set for eight-year-olds (one eighth of 32...come on chaps, we can work it out...). Compulsory education will be extended to the age of 18 and private companies are now in talks with the Government over acquiring public funding for further education. By further education they mean resitting GCSEs to ensure their new employees can actually read and write.

Meanwhile ministers are (still) pledging to up further/higher education figures - aiming to increase the number of people with a university degree from 29 to 40 per cent by 2020. This is an imbecilic policy - there no one degree format that fits all and what about when all those graduates are let loose to on the labour market? Employment is not guaranteed (around 29 candidates, if not more more, apply for every graduate placement).

Scary stuff, best of luck Mr Balls.

(Oh, the answer's 6 by the way, I think, er, um....)


James said...

I really shouldn't of found the hockey ball incident funny should I?

Also please remind me not to rely on your numeracy skills. 6?

Em said...

ha ha.

I know its 4, just goofing

James said...

Yeh, yeh... you just went back and checked and realised you messed up.

Whats with the no post today? Are you getting lazy?

Em said...

mm, that's why I phrased the "answer" in such a way at the end of the post, I can't count.

Nope, job interview all day. Got home to bad news...didn't feel up to it much :(

James said...

I hope the interview went well.

Sorry to hear that you had bed news, was that related to the interview?