07 Dec

All things being equal?

Thank you all for your hard work this half term and especially this week. The weather; including wind and rain; have not made it easy for any of us.
 
We have heard talk a lot this term about ‘disadvantaged’ pupils. The educational system wants to ensure that all children get the very best opportunities. That said, I think we all who work in education truly understand that ‘equality of opportunity’ cannot be our primary goal on the ground. There are occasions when we need to offer some of our children more obvious opportunities through the schooling system to counteract and balance the lack of opportunity elsewhere in their lives. 
 
I write this when we have seen two significant headlines which emphasises the inequality endemic in our country and most evident in the educational system.
 
Firstly; it is it has been shocking to read the report, by the BBC, which reveals that academics working in some of the best universities in this country have unequal pay for similar roles. It seems to be that BME academics can be paid up to 26% less than their male, white counterparts. In 2018? How on earth, as a society, are we to truly inspire our children, whatever their background and whatever their disposition, if as they move through the educational system they see that some of their role models are so unfairly treated.
 
Set alongside your second report, this time published by the Sutton Trust, which found that only eight schools provided over 50% of all Oxbridge places. Eight schools filled 1310 places compared to 1220 places from 2900 other schools.  Of the eight schools providing the overwhelming majority of students six are well-known independent private schools. This cannot be about what those schools do it really must be about the advantage that those schools provide.
 
Some shocking statistics!
 
We know that some schools in some communities are fighting an uphill battle but it is a battle we must fight nonetheless. Societally have a moral responsibility to ensure that all of our children, whatever their backgrounds, have an opportunity. This isn’t about an abstract and politically motivated equality agenda. It really is about identifying those children across the country, who may need that proverbial leg up. It strikes me that there is a significant waste of national talent. We cannot maintain and not challenge a system which is so obviously skewed. We will do our bit him at Oakwood. We will continue to support all of our pupils. We will look at where we can find and add extra value.
 
‘The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal.’ Aristotle
 
If we ever needed to understand why the work that we do is so important taking time to reflect upon those two educational issues this week should encourage us all to get on and make that difference.