I am a state secondary school teacher, at the start of my career. I love teaching. More than ever, I believe our country needs conservative values - values that are just not being voiced in state education.
In school, I have found my colleagues to be dedicated to and excited by their vital role in our society. Not surprisingly, you might think, I have also found them, in general, to be dogmatic in their 'progressive' attitudes.
So the children aren't getting much - if any - of the 'other side' of the argument. For example, huge effort is expended on the 'Inclusion' agenda - reassuring kids that their broken families are no less desirable than conventional family units. Whilst this has short-term benefits in terms of making individual children feel better about their predicament - it means that, as a society, we have ceased to 'pass on' something that most people in this country know to be true: a stable, conventional family unit is preferable for a child in terms of just about every indicator imaginable - career prospects, ability to form relationships, quality of future health, you name it.
I also feel, in my albeit limited experience, that there is a sense of entitlement and inertia surrounding state education. The idea that free education is a wonderful privilege conferred by British citizenship is conspicously absent in the minds of parents (and thus their children), many of whom treat teachers with contempt, and take little responsibility for their poor behaviour - preferring to blame anyone but themselves.
These, of course, are generalisations, and there are fantastic things going on in state education - especially the incredible commitment of the teachers. But our children are let down by both the curriculum and the manner in which their education is made available. As a conservative who believes that society best moves forward when it understands and appreciates its past, I lament the intensive focus on compulsory 'Citizenship' and 'PSHEE' at the expense of optional History. And as a conservative who believes in rights matched by responsibilities, I believe that parents who wish to benefit from free education must give and honour undertakings as to their commitment to the institution that offers them this privilege.
These, and other ideas will be discussed in future blogs. My aim is simply to use my ongoing experience, and my values, to discuss issues relating the British state education system - and to come up with ideas for the best way forward.