Saturday, January 13, 2007

Charles Moore on Ruth Kelly

Charles Moore in the Spectator this week:

"Obviously Ruth Kelly is a 'hypocrite', but the hypocrites in her party are more admirable than the consistent ones. At least the former show some human feeling. There must be Labour ministers who know that their children would be better off in a private school, can afford to send them there, and still don't, because of their careers and their opinions. That really is disgusting. it will be interesting to see whether young Leo Blair finds his way into a private school once his father leaves office.

"Miss Kelly pleads her son's special needs. In this area, Labour is truly hoist with its own petard. It has been the slave to a doctrine - the classrom equivalent of 'care in the community' for the mentally ill - which says that all children benefit from being among normal children, and so it has closed special needs schools. The truth is that some children with special needs - most notably those with autism - are positively damaged by going to ordinary schools. And in all schools it is hard to find time, energy and teachers to deal with special and normal needs at once. Miss Kelly seems to have found this out the hard way, and acted against her government's policy and in fovour of her son.

This process ought to give Labour politicians pause. What Ruth Kelly is doing is what every parent would hope to be able to do - thinking about her child's special needs (and there is a sense in which every child's needs are special) and choosing what is best for him.

How many more generations have to be wasted before it is accepted by all parties that this choice should be a source of pride, not shame?

Good one Charles! As you rightly observe, the right and duty of the parent/guardian to provide an education suitable to the age, ability and aptitude of the child is something for which we should fight. We therefore expect the Spectator to be behind the Home Educating community who do take the individual educational needs of their children seriously, since the right to home educate their children as parents see fit, enshrines the notion of parental responsibility and tailored education.

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