Nick Clegg State Education and Hypocrisy?

(66 Posts)
deadbeatdad Wed 21-Apr-10 21:14:52

Is Nick Clegg a bit of a hypocritic when it comes to state schools

Lib Dem manifesto want to effectively eliminate faith schools - limit staff appointments on faith grounds and make faith schools adopt the same admissions criteria as community schools.

Yet his own children go to Catholic primary schools and he has himself said state secondary schools in London represent a fall off a 'cliff edge' in terms of standards so he hasn't ruled out sending his children private at secondary level.

If he thinks london state secondaries are not good enough for his children why does he want to make faith schools in the capital to same as non-faith alternatives.

I am surprised he hasn't been challenged on this (rather than the snide pieces about his Westminster schooling).


TheHeathenOfSuburbia Wed 21-Apr-10 21:35:13

Well, the pro-faith school people always say that it's the ethos of the school that makes them better, not the indirect social selection via the admissions criteria.

Guess removing said admissions criteria would give them a chance to put their money where their mouth is.

gaelicsheep Wed 21-Apr-10 21:41:40

Perhaps he wants other children to have the opportunity to attend such schools without their parents having to jump through hoops and say several Hail Marys?

I don't blame any politician who sends their children to private school because the local state schools are shite. As long as they are not simultaneously trying to shut private schools down, as used to be Labour's policy.

deadbeatdad Wed 21-Apr-10 22:04:51

So providing he doesn't shut private schools down (only effectively end state faith schools presumably after his children are in) that's ok?.

Where do you think the ethos comes from if not the staff, the students, parents and the teaching across the curriculum. If admissions is not based as you disparingly call 'Hail Marys ' then it is purely selection on the same criteria as community schools which the middle classes have shown they can effectively manipulate based on house purchase etc.

My view a touch of inconsistency from Mr Clegg - private schools untouched, indeed does not rule out sending his children to them because community secondary schools in London are poor and yet we will ensure faith school operate on the same basis as those supposedly failing community schools

gaelicsheep Wed 21-Apr-10 22:13:29

As TheHeathenOfSuburbia said, it's perhaps the ethos of the school that matters. Opening up admissions to non-Catholics wouldn't change the ethos and wouldn't equate to turning them into sink schools. Otherwise what on earth is the point of the Tory policy on community-run schools or Labour's "academies"? They must have the same admissions criteria as your average state school as well, right?

And no I don't think a politician should have to send their children to a crap school just because they're a politician. Especially if they are not a member of the ruling party and thereby responsible for school standards.

I don't think it's hypocrisy - he is choosing the education he thinks best for his children, same as the rest of us do. He can do that while thinking the current system is wrong - no hypocrisy there.

You obviously disagree with his policy on changing faith schools, but whether he's right or wrong on that issue it doesn't make him a hypocrite.

TheFallenMadonna Wed 21-Apr-10 22:31:48

I'm not apologist for faith schools, but thinking a school ethos comes only from the school is not seeing the whole picture. It is the whole school community, and that includes the parents, that make the ethos. That is particularly true I would imagine in faith schools, where there is a community outside of the school as well as inside. To say the admissions criteria wouldn't change the ethos of the school is wrong.

deadbeatdad Wed 21-Apr-10 22:38:57

He has said that state secondaries in london are crap and that he doesn't rule out going private. The inconsistency lies in wanting to turn the faith schools into the schools he decries, rather than change the community schools.

If he thinks the Lib Dem pupil premium policy will change standards in community schools in london he should say his kids won't need to go private. My sense is his state education policy does not add up sufficiently for him to have confidence in sending his DC to state community schools - and yet the many islands of effective state education in london he is proposing to tamper with for no obvious benefit in terms of standards.

TheFallenMadonna Wed 21-Apr-10 22:58:02

Wouldn't he only be hypocritical then if he was actually Prime Minister, and the party's policies were being implemented in schools? Otherwise his children are being educated in someone else's system.

vanitypear Thu 22-Apr-10 00:25:40

I agree he's a hypocrite, but, like Blair, Harman, Abbott et al, what they preach and what they practice when it comes to their own kids are different things entirely.

vanitypear Thu 22-Apr-10 00:29:16

... don't expect a bad word against Nick Clegg on Mumsnet, his "plague on both your houses" performance on TV has won MN over completely and made him the prospective saviour of the country - expenses, schooling and other inconsistencies conveniently forgotten... yawn

varifocal Thu 22-Apr-10 00:34:56

Most London schools have improved hugely over the past 10 years with additional funding and additional teachers. Don't believe all the urban myths. Go and get to know your local school(s)- they might not be shite asgaelicsheep suggests.

londonartemis Thu 22-Apr-10 11:27:41

What galls me most about this, is that he is a non believer, but gets his children into the catholic primary school because of his wife's beliefs. A bit too easy that one, Nick - happy to use religion to suit yourself. If I didn't believe, I wouldn't use up the space for parents who do believe. And it's not as if there is no alternative - there are loads of good state primaries in the area, and also private schools (he can afford them). To me this is hypocrisy.

MagicMountain Thu 22-Apr-10 11:42:09

I think his wife may have had some input into the debate they no doubt had about which school they wanted their children to attend.

GrimmaTheNome Thu 22-Apr-10 11:46:13

>What galls me most about this, is that he is a non believer, but gets his children into the catholic primary school because of his wife's beliefs.

Are you saying that Mrs Clegg shouldn't have a say - I'd got the impression that this school was largely her choice which her husband was willing to respect. She does believe - are you saying he's more important than her because he's a politician or a man?hmm

I agree totally with the libdem policy if its to stop religious discrimination in employment and admissions.

londonartemis Thu 22-Apr-10 11:51:30

Oh definitely she should have a say. I have not problem with her making the choice whatsoever, but I think that as a politician, he is having his cake and eating it.

GrimmaTheNome Thu 22-Apr-10 11:56:35

He's in a catch 22 then isn't he - either disrespect his wife's views because it mightn't sit well with the electorate, or dictate his childrens educational choices based on political expediency.

Unless you seriously think the latter choice would have been better, its a bit daft to complain.

gramercy Thu 22-Apr-10 11:58:54

The thing is that if the best local option had been a non-faith school and that the Catholic school had been crap you could have bet your bottom dollar that the Cleggs would have spurned Catholicism in a heartbeat. Anyone would. But then anyone is not standing up and spouting an "education policy".

deadbeatdad Thu 22-Apr-10 12:00:48

There's the rub. I admire his decision to respect his wife's wishes (and the church's teaching in a mixed marriage) to bring the children up as Catholics. My issue is that while respecting the wishes of his wife his part's policy seeks to deny the opportunity to others to have a faith school to whicj to send their children to. By faith school I don't mean the mealy-mouthed version he described in his press conference this morning where admissions is the same as community schools and where the current option of employing staff from the faith in key posts remains.

Why don' the press quiz him on this policy rather than the over blown story about money from business men into his personal account. You can't blame the politicians to pursue inconsistent practices from those they want to impose on others if the press are lazy for a cheap headline.

HippyGalore Thu 22-Apr-10 12:02:41

I don't actually think it is hypocrisy, he doesn't like the current state schools in part because they suffer the downside of other schools' selection rights. Removing the special selection some schools get will not necessarily drag these schools down, as if sink school is some sort of natural state. There is a vicious cycle of select - improve stats - become more desirable - more selective - better stats etc. that he hopes to break, although it is obvious why those in the loop want to keep it that way.

In Scotland, there are no church schools and only the odd catholic school, which don't perform any better than the state schools (to which it is also easier to compare like with like, socio-economically). This suggests that it is the selection, not the faith that gives such schools an advantage and leaves others disadvantaged.

I even think that the whole community thing is increased by kids who live near each other going to the same school, across the board - if people get a sense of belonging from their church and faith as well, they still will.

bidibidi Thu 22-Apr-10 12:06:08

Wait a minute, I thought faith schools ARE state schools (overwhelmingly). Or are you arguing that the only thing that stops state faith schools from being "crap" is the faith element in the admissions criteria and curriculum? Somehow this filters out the riffraff, does it? hmm

I would be livid if religion was a discriminating factor in our local state schools -- actually I feel fairly riled to hear that it's an admissions criteria for any state school anywhere. I can't believe that such discrimination is allowed to exist in any public service. That's absolutely outrageous, and inexplicable in an overwhelmingly secular nation.

Clarissimo Thu 22-Apr-10 12:11:25

Presumably he thinks he can make the schools better
And fwiw not all faith schools are equal- ours is faith but in no way delective if you live in catchment.

'... don't expect a bad word against Nick Clegg on Mumsnet, his "plague on both your houses" performance on TV has won MN over completely and made him the prospective saviour of the country - expenses, schooling and other inconsistencies conveniently forgotten... yawn

coz people on MN are so thick tehy cannot sthink for themselves and nobosy ever voted LD before That debate

<<questions how DH had Paddy as an MP then hmm>>

patronising bollocks

just IMO natch

If he had established the system and then wouldnt use it I would be first to tell hypocrisy but he didn't. He wants to change the schools to fit what he would like for his kids.

And fwiw our state faith is a crock of shite. Shite ethos, hotbed pf in fihghting and will be driving out of the way to avoid sending ds4 there

Clarissimo Thu 22-Apr-10 12:13:24

' I don't mean the mealy-mouthed version he described in his press conference this morning where admissions is the same as community schools and where the current option of employing staff from the faith in key posts remains.

thats opurs then (anyone want a shite uber religious Head? have one someone can grab....)

MrsSalvoMontalbano Fri 25-Jan-13 17:58:12

vanitypear said it - if it were a conservative he would be vilified for hypocrisy on MN, but Clegg, Harman, Abbott can do no wrong.

Ronaldo Fri 25-Jan-13 19:07:27

You might call him a hypocrite because in his political life he stands and spouts his ( so called) principles). However, he is just like the rest of us really ( I hope) - when it comes to his own children he will not sacrifice them on the altar of his principles. That I can respect. I find it hard to swallow he has never admitted it before.

meditrina Fri 25-Jan-13 19:15:53

Tony Blair used the faith school route, didn't he?

Plenty of examples of Labour MPs attacking private schools on a policy level whilst sending their own kids to them.

Nothing changes.

Pyrrah Sat 26-Jan-13 23:03:05

It is Mrs Clegg who decided the kids schools.

Nick is an atheist, Mrs C is a staunch Catholic and is bringing up their children in the faith. I would imagine that an RC school would not be his personal choice.

happilyconfused Sat 26-Jan-13 23:12:32

What do you expect from the man that went back on his promise with regards university fees? One rule for the rich, another for the squeezed middle and poor,

swlmum Sun 27-Jan-13 21:25:53

The school his kids go to is actually the nearest state primary school to his house so if faith schools were abolished they would probably end up there anyway.

JoanByers Mon 28-Jan-13 00:58:45

zombie thread

ravenAK Mon 28-Jan-13 01:04:17

Zombie, which starts with the immortal words 'Is Nick Clegg a bit of a hypocrite...'


If ever a gavel was needed! grin

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 28-Jan-13 08:49:51

Just when I was starting to feel a bit sorry for the guy, he announces he will probably have to send his children privately - having not even visited his local comprehensive school.


dapplegrey Mon 28-Jan-13 14:26:33

Politicians educate their children privately because they know they can get away with it. They will not lose their seat nor be blocked from promotion as a result. There will be a bit of a fuss in the media at the time and Andrew Neil will make some sarcastic remarks but that's about it.

TalkinPeace2 Mon 28-Jan-13 16:04:09

As Clegg's wife earns a darn sight more than him, the choice should be up to her as he'll not be a politician for ever

DadOnIce Mon 28-Jan-13 16:09:26

It's a difficult one. I suppose the answer should be that using the state system doesn't involve "sacrificing" anything at all.

The moment you say it does, you admit there is a two-tier system, and the moment you admit that you have conceded that there is a problem. And if you are in the current Government, admitting that the state schools are not good enough is a bit of a foot-in-mouth moment.

LineRunner Mon 28-Jan-13 16:20:08

I'm not sure that I'm comfortable dissecting the private lives of children.

The issue is surely national policy on faith schools, admissions, academies and pupil place planning.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

DadOnIce Mon 28-Jan-13 17:39:41

It is a tacit admission that the state system is a "compromise", that's what I was trying to say. And as soon as you say that you admit that it's not good enough for all children, not just your own.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 28-Jan-13 17:42:55

I don't think this is 'discussing the private lives of children', though, it is discussing the words, actions and indeed inactions of the deputy prime minister.

MrsSalvoMontalbano Mon 28-Jan-13 18:21:15

It is weasel words to describe this as the private lives of children. The fact is the the Deputy PM, and leader of a party that used to be serious about state education does not consider it good enough for his own children.He says local schools are competitve difficult to get into - err... Wandsworth comps are not difficult to get into [puzzled] and it appears he hasn't bothered to visit them.

LineRunner Mon 28-Jan-13 19:56:44

I don't like the way that in the UK it's considered OK to know many things about children just because of who their parents are.

There are plenty of other ways to question and challenge policy makers on policies. After all, the OP is concerned about proposed changes to the admission criteria for faith schools. That's a really interesting debate worth having on its own merits.

I wouldn't like where my children go to school put into the media. I'd expect to have to justify my policy proposals though on the basis of evidence.

I have changed my view on this lately, by the way. I used to think politicians 'fair game' but I think the various media and hacking inquiries made me feel a bit uncomfortable about the voracious appetite of the public information about public and private figures, including politicians' children.

But I do get what everyone is saying who disagrees with me, as I used to think it (e.g. about Diane Abbot).

LineRunner Mon 28-Jan-13 19:58:01

sorry appetite of the public for information

MrsSalvoMontalbano Mon 28-Jan-13 20:12:51

The thing is that they are very self-righteous when they are are not in that position - ie before their DC are of school agge - ie being very vicious about people who decide on independent education if they showed more understanding at that point, it would not be hypocritical.

MrsSalvoMontalbano Mon 28-Jan-13 20:15:11

sorry muddled typing - what I mean is that they themselves castigate people for choosing independent education, then... choose it themselves. No-one would object if they hadn't been previously so rude about others choices.

LineRunner Mon 28-Jan-13 20:22:14

I always think politicians are naive of they are critical of any members of public for exercising any perfectly legal and legitimate choices.

In terms of state schools, I just want politicians to work to make every local school a good school. No gimmicks, no re-inventing the wheel, no games and no wasting time slagging off staff and LAs - just a huge drive to make every local school good enough by giving good Head Teachers the tools for the job.

I met Ruth Kelly once. That was an experience.

LaVolcan Mon 28-Jan-13 21:03:59

Could you elaborate more on the experience of meeting Ruth Kelly? Her spell as Education Secretary did seem to finish her political career, and yet she had been well thought of in the Treasury, I believe.

testbunny Mon 28-Jan-13 22:05:11

nick clegg is a disgrace and a hypocrite. he makes a living trying to persuade us of his views, then does the opposite. i make a prediction - he will send his son to a, very difficult to get in, catholic secondary. otherwise, that will be the end for him. however, he will prob be given a euro job, then up in the house of lords, so wont give a toss anyway what everyone thinks! how can anyone ever take anything he takes seriously again. mind you, he has plenty of form..... twxt.

LineRunner Mon 28-Jan-13 22:14:27

Ruth Kelly .... she came to a school where I live and a selection of parents were invited to meet her at a Q&A session. It was the time when she was saying that no new school built under Building Schools for the Future or any other scheme would be able to be a community school.

All the parents were going mad with her.

I said, 'I just want my local school to be good enough - I don't want to have to 'choose' to cart my kids half way across the NE to find some mythical utopian choice,' and she kind of crumpled.

I think her civil servants and Labour colleagues had totally set her up with a policy she couldn't defend in the Labour heartlands. But when she accepted Secretary of State she should have been prepared to be stronger.

LaVolcan Mon 28-Jan-13 23:38:44

I wouldn't have a problem with Clegg sending his children to a catholic secondary because his wife is a committed catholic; it wasn't a case of conveniently finding religion when the children were born and then just as conveniently forgetting it when they are in the desired school.

I suspect he will be the same as the Blairs - there will be some weasily words about why the local catholic secondary isn't good enough, but fine for other people's children.

lainiekazan Wed 30-Jan-13 10:19:01

How can people possibly defend Nick Clegg?

Can you imagine if David Cameron, or indeed any MNetter said that they had to go with a certain school because their spouse said so? They would be pilloried.

The Catholic argument is total crap. If his local Catholic school was dreadful and full of undesirables would he and his wife still insist on sending their dcs there? Like hell they would.

housemad Wed 30-Jan-13 11:49:15

Politicians like that can honestly say they don’t know or can’t see what’ s wrong with the state education. As they themselves won’t want it for their own kids if they can afford private education.

LaVolcan Wed 30-Jan-13 18:17:21

If his local Catholic school was dreadful and full of undesirables would he and his wife still insist on sending their dcs there? Like hell they would.

This same comment was made about the Blairs when they chose to send their first son across London to the Oratory, rather than a local comprehensive catholic school in Islington.

Part of the package that went with marrying a non-catholic was that the catholic partner had to endeavor to bring the children up as catholics.

LineRunner Wed 30-Jan-13 18:45:35

There is a hypocrisy, I readily admit that, in that government ministers should be moving heaven and earth to make the state school system, used by the vast majority of British children, replete with good local schools.

The bizarre illusions of 'choice' upon which Gove appears fixated (and Labour secretaries of state like Kelly previously) is the hypocrisy that pisses me off the most.

The complexity and inefficiency of school governance means that it's easy for everyone to blame each other. See, even I'm doing it.

lainiekazan Thu 31-Jan-13 08:54:41

Yeah, but if his local Catholic school was dire, and the local non-denominational one was great, you know that they (or Blairs or anyone else for that matter) wouldn't be so keen to adhere to their religious principles.

MrsSalvoMontalbano Thu 31-Jan-13 11:04:04

There is brand new catholic school opening in Richmond, short bus ride from -NC's house in Putney - no need to schlep across the river to the oratory grin

tiffinboys Mon 11-Feb-13 00:18:19

Talking of hyprocrite politicians, I have not forgotten Shirley Williams either. As Labour's Sec. of Ed, chaired abolition of grammars and then had her own daughter admitted to a surviving grammar (Latymer) hoodwinking the admission criteria, some say fraudulently.

basildonbond Mon 11-Feb-13 09:40:32

Sorry tiffin boys but you're talking rubbish about Shirley Williams - her daughter went to Godolphin & Latymer when it was a fully funded by ILEA voluntary aided school. When it changed its status to become independent again she removed her daughter and sent her to local comp

By all means get annoyed with politicians' hypocrisy but get your facts right first - and bear in mind that false allegations of fraud are libellous

tiffinboys Tue 12-Feb-13 21:39:26

Really, then read this..... the section on controversies.

tiffinboys Tue 12-Feb-13 21:54:23

Really, then read this..... the section on controversies.

tiffinboys Tue 12-Feb-13 22:03:33

And this one is review of Shirley's own book. Extracts tells about the novel arrangements.

tiffinboys Tue 12-Feb-13 22:23:24

No offence meant to any one, but the point is politicians are parents too and when it comes to their own children, they would put their children first over the 'principles' which are for the 'people'.

Diane Abbott, Ruth Kelly are just few examples of being parent first. Neither would Harriet Harman send her son to the Comprehensive, rather than the grammar school, her party wants to abolish.

basildonbond Tue 12-Feb-13 23:55:18

There was no catchment area for Godolphin - if you passed the exam with a high enough mark you got in - I know as I was there at the same time ( although a few years below) - the school changed status in my first year there and Rebecca Williams left to go to a comprehensive

tiffinboys Wed 13-Feb-13 06:40:56

The Independent's article is also by an ex-pupil.

However, the point I was making is that the politicians would put their children first, rather than their preachings to us.

CecilyP Wed 13-Feb-13 10:35:17

I don't think so! Godolphin was a all girls school!

What Sean O'Grady actually wrote was, 'it was only one of many fine state schools, including mine, to be lost forever,'. The article also said that Williams lived a short distance from the school but that she also took in lodgers - though it is not clear from the article if the lodger's daughter attended Godolphin. A factual inaccuracy, though I don't know if Williams or O'Grady was responsible, is that it was a direct grant school; it wasn't, it was a Voluntary Aided, totally non-feepaying school before it became independent.

OhDearConfused Wed 13-Feb-13 10:49:02

Yes, that bastion of accuracy, Wikipedia.

And the journalist does rather approach Williams from a rather slanted position - "comprehensive mistake". How droll.

I don't know the ins and outs of Williams. But to me there is a major difference between a policitian saying

A. "People should not send children to grammars/indies".

B. "Grammars should be abolished, and I am working towards it".

If A sends DC to grammar then yes, hypocrisy (^the postulation of moral standards to which one's own behavious does not confirm^ - OED). Saying one thing and doing another.

If B does it because they are doing the best for their child in the system that exists (but they rather would not exist), it is not "hypocrisy".

tiffinboys Wed 13-Feb-13 12:06:38

Thank you CecilyP for correcting. Ofcourse, G&L was and still is all girls school.

The article had extracts from Shirley's book. Reading wiki articles, it seems William family owned the house near G&L; but were not living there at that time and therefore, all that arrangement with friend's children etc.

I used to like Shirley a lot until we got into this grammar mania. Wish we still had all those 1300+ grammars for the bright children.

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