I share the concern raised about the risks of cyber-bullying following the publication of school banding by the Welsh Government (“School banding raises fears over cyber-bullying”, January 23).
As an advocate of New Labour, before leaving the Labour Party when Ed Miliband said it was over, I am strongly in favour of parents being allowed to choose which school their child goes to. The rank and file of Old and Welsh Labour say this won’t work because every parent will want their child go to the best school – well that is the point!
A market in education, such as by removing the unfair catchment areas that partition this market and create geographical ghettos, would mean the best schools would stay open and expand, and the worst ones would close.
In such a market you would need a way for the parents to choose the best school. Government-sanctioned league tables or school banding does not help – parents need to be able to create their own league tables.
Even the “least able” people can go on to websites like GoCompare or MoneySupermarket and select what is important to them about their home or car insurance policy and what is not. If we as citizens can prioritise insurance why not other things? It is not grades that make a school a best school. It is factors such as whether they have special support for your child’s disability, whether they have after-school clubs or extended hours, and whether the school has strong pupil-satisfaction.
So if the Welsh Government is happy to have de facto league tables – why don’t they give parents the choice to have their children educated outside their area so they are not subject to the stigma that they can do little about without “upping sticks”?