Magazine article Public Finance

Personal Questions

Magazine article Public Finance

Personal Questions

Article excerpt

Choice has been the leitmotif of this government. Schools, hospitals, housing: all have been subjected to the customerknows-best consumerist test.

And who could argue with t he right of ordinary citizens, not just, the well-off, to reject second-rate services?

Things get more complicated though when choice is perceived as socially divisive, and limited by personal means.

This is the issue behind the furore over Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly's choice of private schooling for her dyslexic child.

No-one objects to a parent doing what they think best for their children, particularly those with special educational needs. What many baulk at is the lack of opportunity to follow suit.

This is meant to be addressed by the government's new 'personalised learning' initiative (see News Analysis on pages 12-13). Out will go one-size-fits-all Sals tests. In come bespoke learning packages, geared to each child.

It's an attractive idea - and one already enjoyed by many private school pupils. Teachers' unions have understantlahly welcomed some professional autonomy alter decades of target-driven tables.

But this all begs the obvious quest ion. …

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