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Hereford’s Councillor Chris Chappell – appears to care more about council employees than children’s education, an object lesson in ‘producer capture’.

November 23, 2012

I keep an eye out for idiotic and damaging statements from politicians both national and local and a Labour member of Herefordshire county council has come out with another cracker.

Previously Cllr Chappell’s foot was planted firmly in his own mouth on the issue of allowing a not exactly moderate, Islamic group to set up a mosque in the city of Hereford. This time he has turned his attention to the subject of education.

Cllr Chappell is objecting to the parents of Hereford having more choice in education by writing to the Education Secretary Michael Gove whining about the opening of a new Free School concentrating on vocational education in Hereford.

Cllr Chappell’s objections to a free school seem not to be based on any concerns that the proposers of the Free School, supported by the Robert Owen Group, will not give a good education rather he is concerned about the effect that the new school will have on neighbouring schools. He said the new school would ‘prove detrimental to other schools and colleges’. It seems from reading the Hereford Times article (reproduced below) that he is concerned that parents may choose the new Free School rather than accepting what the local authority offers.

Typical Labour politician, instead of supporting parents having more choices in education he chooses instead to support the vested interests of teaching unions and local education authority bureaucrats. Cllr Chappell must be a worried man as free schools have more power to sack under-performing teaching staff and control their own budgets.

Also with free schools the money goes direct from the Government to the school and it doesn’t pass through the sticky fingers of the Local Authority which means more money gets to the actual end customer, the school pupil. I think as much of the money from the taxpayer as possible should get to the pupil and shouldn’t be siphoned away and wasted.

Local Authority education departments should not be allowed to dip into this money on its way to the pupil in order to fund sclerotic education bureaucracies and failed and failing teachers and schools.

I’m sorry Cllr Chappell, but if parents choose to send their children to the new school because they prefer it over the local authority school, then that would probably indicate to me that there is some sort of deficiency or problem with the local authority schools.  Cllr Chappell appears to prefer that parents have less choice, solely to keep open schools that parents would not choose if they had the more choice in matters of education.

I know there are good schools in Hereford at the moment, but that doesn’t mean that these schools should be protected from competition. Just because something is good doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be made better.

Here is what Cllr Chappel has to say in the Hereford Times article by Lauren Rogers:

OPENING a new state-funded secondary school in Herefordshire would put existing schools at the risk of closure, a councillor has claimed.

Councillor Chris Chappell has written to education secretary Michael Gove voicing concern that the Robert Owen Vocational School, which could open in the county in September 2013, would “decimate” local education and prove detrimental to other schools, sixth forms and colleges.

Coun Chappell claimed the free school, which has not yet secured Government funding but was given informal backing by the Department of Education in July, is “likely to result in the closure of at least two” secondary schools and the downgrading of others because Herefordshire’s schools and colleges are not at full capacity and a free school for up to 500 students aged 14 to 19 would damage the vocational training they already provide.”

Well Councillor Chappell, the current schools and colleges may be providing vocational training but is it all it’s cracked up to be? The fact that the Free School is competing in the area of vocational education seems to suggest that there is a) a market for such education and b) the local authority isn’t meeting the needs of its customers.

The Hereford Times continued:

Cllr Chappell also claimed the new school would put extra strain on council resources.

The Department of Education gave the Robert Owen Group, a teacher training organisation based in Leominster, approval to push ahead with their plans back in July.

But government will not approve funding until plans have been put out for public consultation.”

Cllr Chappell’s whine about ‘excess places’ in the counties schools is ironic bearing in mind he supports the failing policy of multiculturalism that has been such a ‘success’ in places like Luton, Rochdale, Bradford, Tower Hamlets, Walthamstow etc etc. Wouldn’t the people who Cllr Chappell wants to import into Herefordshire fill those alleged ‘surplus places’?

Cllr Chappell is typical of the Labour Party ‘representative’ with his attitude that choice in education, as in anything else, is a bad thing. Cllr Chappell seems more concerned with the rights of the education service provider rather than the rights of the end-user of education.

So there you have it. At the next local election in Cllr Chappell’s ward you will have the choice between the Cllr Chappell attitude of ‘you shall not choose’ and someone else. If I was you, I’d choose the ‘someone else’ on the ballot paper.


Hereford Times article of November 22nd 2012

Cllr Chappell’s usefully idiotic utterances on Islam

Robert Owen Teacher Training Co-op (the group behind the school)

Although Herefordshire’s schools are good when compared to the war zones that are schools in certain other parts of the UK, it appears that there is still room for improvement.

If you haven’t come across the term ‘producer capture’ before it relates to how an organisation is run for the benefit of those who work for it rather than the customers of said organisation. In other words the vested interests always defend themselves rather than provide a proper service to their customer. Here’s an article from the Free Society Blog on producer capture in services.

  1. hen bradshaw permalink

    Vocational education is a brilliant idea, and setting up an independent free school is an excellent idea.
    My instincts say that vocational and academic education should be separated. If a young person is academic they all to often suffer bullying, usually by those who are uninterested in academia.
    Councillor Chappell would do well to ask the parents of Herefordshire think before he continues on this one man crusade.

    • Fahrenheit211 permalink

      Welcome to Fahrenheit211. I agree with the idea of vocational education as well. The great tragedy of post war education policy isn’t just the comprehensive schools stuffing kids with leftie nonsense, but how the idea of Technical Schools wasn’t taken up as much as it should have been done. The original idea of the 44 Act was so that every child got the education most suited to it in an environment that most suited it.

      The Germans didn’t drop the technical schools idea and Germany has a very deep pool of technically literate and qualified people.

      Re Cllr Chappell, it just shows who’s side he is on. He is so obviously on the side of the teaching unions and the educational establishment rather than the parents of the city.

      On a similar subject, there is an excellent article on History teaching from Martin Hunter in this months Standpoint magazine. He says how history teaching has been hollowed out and after reading this article I tend to agree with him.

      Here’s the link to the Standpoint story.

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