James Forsyth

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Is it a bigger scandal that six state schools are asking parents for voluntary contributions or that 100,000 children do not get into their first choice school? Ed Balls clearly thinks it is the former as he has gone into full Laura Spence-outrage mode over it, naming and shaming the schools involved.

One can’t help but wonder what Balls is up to in trying to turn this into a big story. As Conor Ryan, who used to advise Blair and Blunkett on education, writes, “The problem with turning the issue into a cause celebre is that it alienates many of the good school leaders that this government needs if it is to tackle failing schools and pioneer personalisation.”

It seems that these schools are being attacked both to distract from the constant slew of bad news about the state of education in this country and to bolster his class warrior credentials. Once again Ball’s partisan advantage is being put ahead of the interests of children. 

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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