The BNP is vindicated again! We have been calling for
this for some time.
Britain will pay a heavy price for failing to educate
its brightest young children in selective schools, warns
a leading right wing think tank.
The Centre for Policy Studies says politicians have tolerated
the comprehensive school system for too long although
it is both "academically inferior and socially divisive".
In "Three Cheers for Selection: how grammar schools
help the poor", the former head of John Major's policy
unit Lord Norman Blackwell says comprehensive schools
have not improved education standards or reduced social
Lord Blackwell, chairman of the CPS, says all children
and particularly those from poorer backgrounds
would benefit from a selective system.
His report says research has shown that those few able
children from poorer backgrounds who do attend grammar
schools today do exceptionally well.
But the vast majority of bright children in the 76% of
local education authorities (LEAs) without grammar schools
have no or little chance of going to a selective school.
Just 36 out of 150 LEAs in England still retain any selective
Recent studies show social mobility has declined sharply
over the last 30 years with selection by ability
replaced by selection by post code.
The Conservative peer also argues that a selective system
raises overall standards. In LEAs with a selective system,
32% of children received good grades at GCSE in 2002 compared
with 23% in non-selective LEAs.
A survey of 1,006 people by market research company ICM,
commissioned by the CPS, found 76% believe that more academic
children can maximise their potential at secondary school
through streaming or by attending selective schools.
And 73% believe that less academic children can maximise
their potential at secondary schools through streaming
or by attending selective schools.
Almost four in ten (39%) would choose a selective school
for their own child, although the majority (58%)would
opt for a mixed ability school. Meanwhile, half (51%)
are in favour of allowing schools set their own admissions
Lord Blackwell said: "We are losing out because
some of our brightest children are not being stretched
to the limit of their ability.
"We will fall behind other countries because we
rely on these children to become our captains of industry
and professional leaders and they risk falling behind.
"As selective schools have been replaced with comprehensives,
the affluence of the catchment area rather than ability
has become a primary determinant of the quality of schooling.
It has led to selection by postcode.
"Good schools and high house prices have reinforced
each other, with children from poorer families being excluded
from good comprehensives.
"The concentration of the remaining grammar schools
in a small number of mostly higher income areas means
that many able children from poor families miss out on
the opportunities selective education can provide.
"The return to social selection in the current state
system has been further reinforced by the ability of those
with higher incomes to opt out of comprehensives by choosing
private education an option not available to the
poor, particularly since the abolition of the Assisted
"The average cost of sending a child to private
school has increased by 42% to nearly £10,000 per
year over the past five years, whilst average earnings
have only increased by 24%.
"Each child sent to a private school charging average
fees would now account for only 7% of the annual salary
of a senior director or chief executive.
"But an engineer on average earnings would have
to part with 28% of his income to cover the fees for a
private prep or secondary school, and school fees would
eat up nearly 40% of a nurse's annual pay, according to
a study by Halifax."
Lord Blackwell recommends the education system should
be reformed to give all parents the choice of applying
to a free selective academic school but without going
back to the old system of a compulsory 11 plus exam.
He proposes six reforms including allowing streaming
in all state schools with children able to advance or
repeat years where advantageous, enabling state schools
to opt to be fully selective without any LEA block and
allowing parents to decide whether or not to apply to
a selective school.
He also wants free transport to be offered to selective
schools so they can serve less well off children from
a wide catchment area, the provision of information on
selective schools to all parents of children at primary
school and transforming all state schools into independent
foundation schools to free up both state and independent
schools and to allow them to compete in offering state
funded places on equal terms.
Lord Blackwell said: "All politicians recognise
education is important. Yet for too long they have tolerated
a system which is both academically suboptimal and socially
divisive. The refocusing of education around selection
and streaming is long overdue. It cannot afford to be
delayed any longer."
Sir Eric Anderson, who was the Head Master to both Tony
Blair and David Cameron, added: "Britain cannot afford
to educate its people less well than the best in other
"We have to educate everyone well, and our most
able brains superbly well, if we are to compete globally
with educated people from the rest of the developed world
and perhaps particularly from the emerging new economies
in the east.
"The 40 year experiment with comprehensive schools
has fallen far short of its aims. It was meant to provide,
in Harold Wilson's words, 'grammar schools for all' and
it was meant to lead to increased social mobility. It
has done neither.
"It has not raised the standards of all and, as
recent studies show, we now have a less mobile society
than we had in the 1950s and 1960s. In effect, selection
by ability has been replaced by selection by neighbourhood.
That is not sensible, nor is it even egalitarian.
"This publication suggests that we rid ourselves
of an outworn dogma, and follow a practical way to make
our schools as good as we can make them."
Another blow to unisex liberalism.
A new report by the head of Ofsted, the inspectorate
for English schools, advocates adopting different teaching
styles for male and female pupils to help close the education
gap between boys and girls.
Boys already make up a majority of the 20 per cent of
children who cannot read properly by the age of 11. But
research shows that they are likely to fall even further
behind by the age of 16.
Research into boys and girls motivation
shows that differences appear from a very early age, with
boys placing a greater value on believing themselves to
be better at mathematics and science and girls at reading
and art, the so called 2020 Review said.
Boys are more likely to attribute their successes
to internal, stable causes (such as ability) and their
failures to external, unstable causes (such as bad luck).
Do you think different styles of teaching would remedy
this state of affairs? What should the different styles
be? What about teaching boys and girls separately, in
single-sex schools, for example?
Was this always the problem it is now? Is it really getting
worse and, if so, why? Does it really matter? Shouldn't
boys just be allowed to be boys and girls girls?
Do you think the disparity between boys and girls in
their performances at school is particularly bad in England
or the UK? If so, why? If you live outside Britain, are
boys in your country as far behind their female classmates?
To send a letter to the editor of The Daily Telegraph,
Once again, the BNP is vindicated. We have been saying
for ages that the NHS is top-heavy with administrators
and management consultants, and that we would cut spending
on such persons and put the money into front-line staff
The NHS will be top heavy with highly paid consultants
and other specialists by 2011, but short of thousands
of nurses, a leaked Department of Health document warns.
It predicts a "volatile" four years, with about
37,000 jobs going next year, though numbers are expected
to pick up later. It says "sharp reductions"
will cut the 1,366,000 NHS workforce by 2.7 per cent.
The strategy document, written by the Department of Health's
workforce directorate, also suggests that those still
employed by the NHS will have to work harder or be paid
It predicts bitter opposition from the British Medical
Association as the numbers of consultants and specialists
such as physiotherapists, healthcare scientists and technicians
are "managed down".
The Conservatives seized on the predicted job cuts yesterday
as proof that the Government's health policy is now driven
by a financial crisis. Britain's biggest health union
vowed to oppose any cuts in nurses' pay.
The document, leaked to the Health Service Journal, forecasts
that by 2010-11, the NHS will have 3,200 too many full-time
consultants "which we cannot afford to employ",
and 16,200 too many allied health professionals, scientists
and technicians. At the same time, there will be shortages
of 14,000 nurses, 1,200 GPs, and 1,100 junior doctors.
It suggests ways to cut the NHS's expanding wage bill,
by doing away with national pay bargaining so that regional
and local deals can bring down nurses' pay.
It suggests that unemployment will help to "create
downward pressure on wages", and that the unions
might agree to "cafeteria style" pay awards
which trade hours for pay. This would mean that the unions
would achieve their goal of a 35-hour week in theory,
but "in practice most staff might be expected to
cash in extra hours for more pay".
It also calls for a review of doctors' pay structure,
and for specialist doctors to be encouraged to retrain
as GPs, and urges NHS employers to use a "market
model", buying in skills as and when they are needed.
Trusts should "concentrate on buying in the skills
they need to the standards they require without necessarily
seeking to predict, commission or control the supply".
Mike Jackson, the deputy head of health for Britain's
main public-sector union, said the union would oppose
local pay deals, claiming they were "not necessary"
because of the flexibility already in the system. He added:
"Patient care would be damaged by any attempt to
cut nurses pay.
"We've spent years working to get decent pay to
make sure enough nurses want to stay in the job. Any cut
would undo all that good work. As it is, we face huge
demographic challenges - 20 per cent of our nurses are
aged between 50 and 59 - and if we start cutting pay,
it will make the job of attracting enough nurses even
The shadow Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, said: "This
latest fiasco in workforce planning is the bleakest possible
start to 2007 for the NHS."
He added: "The financial crisis in the NHS is now
driving government policy. By cynically using the misery
of unemployment to cut pay in the NHS, Labour ministers
are making hard-working doctors and nurses pay for governmental
incompetence. The effect on morale will be dire.
"NHS resources, and the responsibility for spending
them, need to be given to frontline staff so they can
build a more effective NHS which responds to the needs
of its staff as well as to the needs of patients. We can
never again allow such a tragic failure of central planning."
The UK Labour government came to office in 1997, focused
on reinvigorating the National Health Service (NHS), this
they did with vigor where the annual NHS budget has grown
from £34 billions in 1997 to the present days £96
billion ! A more than 282% increase !!!!
Given the surge in spending, you would expect everything
to be happy in the NHS, with ample funds to go around,
if so? You would be badly mistaken. NHS trusts up and
down the country are reporting budget over-runs and cut
backs in beds available to patents as well as on staffing
with demands for billions more money to be spent.
So what's gone wrong with the NHS?
In simple terms, the Labour government threw money at
the NHS, literally hundreds of billions of extra spending
has been thrown at the NHS, and much of it has gone straight
into wages to feed the NHS gravy train. The NHS employs
well over 1,100,000 workers, right from nurses to GP's
to specialists have all enjoyed pay rises in excess of
100%! On top of this, extra bureaucracy & quangos
have been created to manage output targets that were supposed
to measure the success of the hundreds of billions of
extra spending. As years have gone by the output targets
have been curtailed to meet those that are 'easiest' to
achieve, you could say for political purposes.
The net result of a 285% increase in spending is a meager
30% increase in output in actual health care gain to patients.
The rest of the money to all intents and purposes has
been wasted. And more importantly continues to be wasted
, this in no small part has resulted the current government
budget deficit of £40 billions a year. The sensible
thing to do would be to realise that the NHS is out of
control and to rationalise / privatise it into a more
affordable institution that allows the country to balance
But this is not going to happen, why ? Because of the
1.1 million people on the NHS gravy train, which are predominantly
labour supporters. Even Cameron's Conservative party in
an attempt to convince this large pool of voters that
they will continue the Labour parties programme of out
of control NHS spending is declaring that that will not
cut NHS spending.
Take General Practitioners (GP's) The average salary
today is £106,000, up from £40, 000 in 1997,
an increase of exactly 265% ! and indicative of why the
NHS has going wrong !. Nearly triple the wages for LESS
work, as GP's cut back on actual working hours with more
work offloaded to nurses and referrals to hospitals for
diagnoses. There is NO justification for such a huge pay
rise for less productivity.
Whilst GP's perform less work for nearly triple pay,
this has led to an amalgamation of practices into multi-GP
practices, patients increasingly complain of poorer care
and indifference from part-time GP's as patients are shuffled
from one GP to another, its only after several visits
spanning several months that a patient can expect their
symptoms to be taken seriously. Even then they have to
go through the referral bureaucracy and delays, as increasingly
cheaper quicker target achieving conditions are first
to be referred.
The GP's are increasingly given incentives NOT to refer
patients so as to save costs, this has led to sharp drop
in the number of consultations over the last year, as
it becomes ever harder for patents to make appointments
with 'part-time' GP's. Where in the past GP's would have
seen patents, now routine inquiries as determined by reception
staff are referred to visiting nurses. This leads to further
delays in diagnoses as nurses and GP's and reception staff
pass the buck between one another with regards why say
blood work cannot be taken etc. The cases are numerous
of symptoms being ignored by part-time GP's' this includes
cases of people with life threatening conditions such
as brain tumors being repeated told that all they have
is environmental flu, with no attempt at proper diagnoses
Ninety per cent of GP's have taken advantage of the new
GP contract to opt out of the provision of out of hours
care, such as in the evening or weekends, leaving primary
care trusts to find alternate providers to fill the gaps.
Patients increasingly disillusioned by the poor quality
of GP/NHS service are going to the private sector for
diagnoses and treatment, which has led to a boom in the
private healthcare sector. So patients end up paying twice,
once in higher taxes to employ those on the NHS gravy
train and then again for proper diagnoses and treatment.
The new contracts for NHS staff also included generous
pension arrangements, which is expected to eat up around
£13 billion of the total budget by 2007/08 and contributing
towards the ever escalating cost of staff pay and the
soaring government budget deficit. This whilst the private
sector workers are expected to increase contributions
towards their pension provision.
So when you next hear news reports of NHS trusts being
strapped for cash, demanding ever more funding, remember
that throwing more money at the NHS is akin to throwing
money into a bottomless pit, where barely 30p is spent
on patient care from every extra £1 spent ! Only
the other day, it was announced a further £6 billions
a year is to be spent on the NHS bottomless pit, with
the gravy train passengers crying for even more ! Inline
with previous performance it is expected that less than
1/3rd of this extra £6 billion will be plowed into
patient care !
The time has come to seriously consider privatizing the
NHS, to give the power back to the patient to go to which
ever GP / hospital they choose to for diagnoses and treatment.
Only then will patients receive the care and consideration
they deserve. Until then the NHS will continue to literally
KILL Britain as it wastes tens of billions every year
The cost to the NHS of the Private Finance Initiative
(PFI) is £45 billion - enough to reverse all the
present cuts and lay a secure basis for the future.
The figure was revealed in an answer to a parliamentary
question from the Tory shadow health secretary. It showed
that the eventual repayments for 83 hospital building
projects worth £8 billion would total £53
billion under PFI.
Under PFI, a private company builds a hospital on the
basis that it will then receive unitary payments
from the NHS each year for a period of around 30 years.
The unitary costs include the costs of providing maintenance
over the lifetime of the contract.
The scheme began under the Conservatives but was stepped
up under Labour. Bobby Noyes is the chair of Southampton
health branch of the Unison union and president of Southampton
Speaking in a personal capacity, she told Socialist Worker,
Its hypocritical and outrageous that the Tories
should seek to make capital out of this revelation. They
were the architects of this scheme, which has channeled
money away from patients, services and health workers
into the pockets of shareholders and multinationals.
But lets also recognise that Labour has followed
absolutely in their footsteps. The unions called for an
end to PFI as soon as Labour was elected in 1997, and
won the position at Labours conference. But the
government has accelerated the programme.
Locally the Lymington hospital is a PFI project.
It will be run by a private company from March, not the
local Primary Care Trust. But even now the company involved
is not finalised. So the hospital opens in December but
a full nursing team cant be recruited because it
isnt known what the hospital will specialise in.
The new hospital means other services are being
cut. But there isnt room in the new hospital for
the maternity unit. So its being moved 15 miles
and will displace a unit for young disabled people.
Labour says it is not privatising health, but damning
evidence is now available of just how far the process
has gone. And its far more than PFI.
Alex Nunns, information officer for Keep Our NHS public,
is compiling a dossier on the full range of privatisation
that is already infecting the NHS. The government
is carrying out the patchwork privatisation
of the health service, he says.
Unlike the Thatcher privatisations of the 1980s,
the entire NHS is not being put up for auction. Instead,
the health service is being parcelled up into bite-sized
pieces, and handed over to private control bit by bit.
This precludes the possibility of rational planning
of care to meet health needs, the organisational principle
of the NHS since 1948. It also removes healthcare from
democratic control, destroys accountability, fragments
the service, and will lead to reduced care with higher
Alex goes on to draw together the various forms of privatisation
that so far make up this patchwork.
Payment by results (PbR) - the financial system underpinning
the new market model of healthcare. In April 2006 it was
rolled out to cover over 80 percent of hospital activity.
One of the purposes of PbR is to allow the private sector
into NHS facilities in nearly every form of care.
Choose and Book - the facility for patients to choose
the site of their secondary care from a limited menu
of providers, including at least one non-NHS facility,
acts as a golden stairway for the private sector to raise
its business within the NHS.
Independent Sector Treatment Centres. These are stand-alone
private sector clinics specialising in a limited range
of treatments, such as cataract operations or hip replacements.
Outsourcing the commissioning function of Primary Care
In late June the Department of Health placed an advert
in the Official Journal of the European Union inviting
companies to tender for all the management functions of
PCTs. The advertisement was withdrawn after Keep Our NHS
Public alerted the press. Two-weeks later it reappeared,
this time using vague language but to the same end.
lPrivatising GP services. The Alternative Provider of
Medical Services contract is the vehicle being used to
bring the private sector in to run GP services.
Practice-based commissioning allows the commissioning
power for purchasing treatments - including hospital operations
- to be transferred from PCTs to consortia of GPs, an
increasing number of which will be employed by multinational
Outsourcing PCT provision. Commissioning a patient-led
NHS, published in summer 2005, set out the vision of services
delivered by a patchwork of the private sector and social
enterprises, not PCTs.
The Private Finance Initiative:
Unbundling of primary care services - primary care services
are being broken up into saleable commodities in a process
known as unbundling. LIFT - the primary care version of
LIFT projects cost to eight times more than traditional
ways of building. In Newham in east London, two LIFT premises
that cater to just 9 percent of the local population are
taking up 28 percent of the PCTs expenditure on
Subsidising private sector infrastructure. The department
of health has issued advice that service commissioners
should be lowering the barriers for new providers
through reducing the capital investment required
from the provider - supplying the buildings.
Privatisation of NHS Logistics. This award-winning not
for profit organisation has been outsourced to delivery
firm DHL and its controversial US contractor, Novation.
Privatisation of oxygen supplies and pathology services,
increasing the use of private ambulance services and outsourcing
medical secretaries abroad. Connecting for Health. The
NHSs ill-fated IT programme has given corporations
a huge slice of public money and unprecedented involvement
in shaping the way the NHS will deliver care in future.
Latest estimates suggest the cost to the taxpayer could
reach £20 billion.
Trade unionists and NHS campaigners were to lobby parliament
this week in defence of the health service. We have
to fight the cuts, drive out the privateers, and force
a change in government policy, says Bobby.
Some rush-hour commuters in England could be paying $100
a day to use the busy routes to get to work in major urban
areas if a controversial road-pricing scheme is adopted
by the government.
The pay-as-you-drive recommendation from a new report
from transport adviser Sir Rod Eddington is that all roads
in Britain carry charges of up to $1.82 per kilometre
at peak hours - less for the rest of the day. It's all
intended to reduce congestion and battle climate change,
but the unintended consequence might be that it also kills
off the car industry.
British drivers already pay the most for gas - twice
what we pay - and the thought of weekly bills well in
excess of $500 will be too much for most ordinary folks.
The central government, which is warm to the idea, promises
improved train and bus services as well as new highways.
They probably will need only single-lane highways after
However, what surprised this observer when the recent
announcement was made was the lack of massive public opposition;
most criticism came from some commentators in the right-wing
media. (Many of them suggest just hiking the gas taxes.)
Maybe people just haven't done the math yet or figured
what the potential economic downsides are. Everything
there is transported by road. Can you imagine what this
would do to the cost of food or any other staple?
It will be a few years before anybody has to consider
digging deeper into their already heavily government-picked
The Big Brother technology required has not been perfected
yet. However, it's not far away and already, people driving
into the centre of London pay an $18 congestion charge
each day, registered by computerized checkpoints.
It's thought that the government would either get billing
information from records stored when vehicles travel beneath
electronic checkpoints at each gateway or track the movement
of individuals via satellite.
The latter collection method really worries civil libertarians.