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Does Starmer mean what he says?! (plus debate on inclusion)

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On the edge:
There is an argument for addressing poor educational attainment.  Throwing money at it without having a direction is the problem, it can create a hierarchy of who is best to support and maximize it.  There is also the realism of accepting that for some areas no amount of money is going address employers or other people's attitudes.

Having A-levels in physics/science e.g. isn't the be-all or end-all, but literacy IS. I'd want money spent there. I'd also like to see those who struggled with literacy as adults encouraged back to learning too.  It is appalling areas of the deaf world who are left with learning and literacy issues AFTER leaving school, feeling adult education is wasted time or not for them.

I'd like to see special schools with more focus on what matters, children's future's.  It should be a national outcry for children after spending many years in daily and formative education leaving with a poor ability to read or communicate.  Many years ago (I know, I Know!), education was geared to literacy above all, if you didn't have it after school your life was pretty much set as negative.  All my birthday and Xmas presents were books.  In the welsh valleys literacy was prized above all.

It was NOT OK to fail. Today we are lesser critical of poor achievement and accepting these things, that's a serious error, because UK education continually still turns out children with poor communication and literacy despite many mind-boggling technical achievements available.  So it isn't money alone that is needed but targeted learning and addressing poor education at root.

Both in and out of education the priorities are mostly wrong.  In adulthood poor attainment is no big deal, but, it IS.  Maybe taking the disability and deaf politics out of it would be a start.  The 3R's are the thing not much else is as important.

Sunny Clouds:
I don't think you can take disability out of it unless you do what was done when I was young (and perhaps it was different in Wales) and lock a whole range of SEND kids up in 'institutions' where it didn't matter whether the curriculum was relevant, because they weren't given an education, they were just written off.

However, we have children with IQs of 50 & 55 who will struggle to be literate.  We have children with juvenile dementia.  We have children with psychosis.  We have children with combined impairments such as blindness or deafness plus cognitive impairments.  We have children with a whole range of impairments that make literacy almost or completely impossible.  It is grossly unfair to expect them all to have to stay in school until such time as they are able to be literate.  If that is done, some children will die before they ever leave school.

But my suspicion is that Starmer sees the solution as being to hide the 'thickos' and 'loonies' and 'crips' away in institutions again, which would work wonders for national literacy statistics once they're removed from the education system. Even better than offrolling.  (Do they do offrolling in Wales?)

I know a middle aged woman with a form of dyslexia that means that she would still almost certainly fail a GCSE.  But she's a dab hand at a certain sort of crafts and also does nicely helping out with certain practical stuff in a relative's business.  You don't actually have to be able to read to have something to give.  Of course that's where 'reasonable adjustments' come into it, because the 'reasonable adjustments' for her are for someone else to check labels on things and buy bleach & disinfectant in distinctively coloured bottles.

I agree that literacy matters.  I'm just very unhappy with what appear to be rigid plans that don't take into account that some people are incapable of ever becoming literate, and of those that are, they may still be incapable of ever acquiring sufficient level of literacy to pass an exam.

Hardly any people with sports studies go on to a career in sports. Both my nieces have such degrees, one works 9.5 hours a week training children at a club in the evenings and weekend and the other has a totally unrelated good career. It could lead to being a personal trainer in a gym earning minimum wage so most move on to other things because it's difficult to survive on minimum wage. Because it's easy to get a place at Uni on these courses, they're swamped by the less academic wanting a degree in a subject that interests them but the careers don't follow. I only know one person who studied film studies, they're now working in an unrelated field in a temporary post. Statistically law degrees which require higher achievements at A level to get a place have only 50% of graduates ever work at any level in law because university places far exceed need. And then on the other spectrum, not enough places at Uni for people wanting to study nursing and yet there are nursing vacancies in every hospital. The government are daft. Student finance needs rethinking.

Sunny Clouds:
If they want more nurses, they need to improve working conditions, otherwise even if you train as a nurse, there's a good chance you'll have a much better career if you transfer your skills to a different line of work unless you pick your specialty and your hospital very, very carefully.

Likewise medicine - look at all the doctors who emigrate or leave medicine or retire early.  You could train an awful lot more and we'd still struggle to recruit in some specialties, especially general practice.  Unless and until our government starts putting the funding into the NHS that it needs, I'd advise any school leaver to think very, very carefully indeed before training in a health-related subject without, at the very least, considering what else they might do with it.

Incidentally, the subject you study isn't always the point of the degree. When I was doing my research about which A-levels and university subjects were worth considering back in the dark ages, I discovered that the arts graduates with the lowest unemployment rates were classicists.  Not many of them would have gone into fields using their specific classical languages and ancient history.   On the other hand, career-wise, it was a good starting point if you wanted to get into computing or politics.  You wouldn't have to look far to find politicians who'd studied subjects like classics.

I don't say we don't need more training courses in practical subjects and career subjects, I just think that often people's choices of subject are based round certain realisms about what happens when you get into the workplace.

Sunny Clouds:
PS what's wrong with studying law then using it as a starting point for a career in business, politics, journalism, stockbroking, insurance etc?  Why do law graduates have to become practising lawyers?


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