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EDITIONS
Wednesday, 5 September, 2001, 14:42 GMT 15:42 UK
Parents' fears over change
As another round of modifications to secondary school education is drawn up, parents have expressed their concerns over the effect it will have on their children.

Many feel their offspring have already been over-exposed to the "guinea pig" mentality of politicians who appear to make change for the sake of change.

Amanda Hopkinson, from Haringey, London, says there has not been enough notice for schools to keep up with the pace of change.


I'm very suspicious that specialism will create another two-tier system

Sophie Day, parent
She said: "You get so suspicious of every new change that's imposed because none of them has made life any easier for the children."

She is particularly worried about the drive towards more specialist schools.

Sophie Day from London's Islington, who has a 17-year-old son studying for A levels, agrees.

She said: "The whole of secondary education in this country is in a pilot state.

Wider investment

"I would prefer to see a local secondary school that meets everyone's needs.

"I'm very suspicious that specialism will create another two-tier system."

Mrs Day said she would like to see charitable status removed from independent secondary schools so the money could be channelled into the state sector.

Her son, Sam, has just completed AS-levels, but she thinks that while the system offers a wider range of subjects, it has been badly implemented and not thought out properly.

Sam Denvir
Sam Denvir: due to start secondary school
Sally Crossfield from Swindon is about to send her 11-year-old son Sam Denvir to a local secondary school.

She feels there should be more investment in schools across the board, rather than targeting specialist schools with more money.

She said: "I think children need as much choice as they can get to achieve a good grounding in everything."

Jackie Reiter, who has a 16-year-old son has mixed feelings about encouraging further private investment in state schools.

Making a direct comment on her son's experience she said: "I can see there isn't enough state money around."

'Fundamental' changes

He wants to pursue music technology to A-level standard, but the school will only be able to accommodate his needs if it can raise 50,000 to provide the necessary equipment.

Preparing herself for more fundraising duties she said: "I think more funding should be made available for these disciplines to be available to children, widely.

"I don't think it should just be restricted to a few schools otherwise it's divisive and schools which are better at bidding for funds will get more money."

Liz Milner, who is from Hackney, London, believes there are more fundamental changes needed if we are to improve our children's prospects.


However much you have ideas, if you can't get teachers to carry them through, what's the point

Liz Milner, parent
She said: "It seems to me that the whole of education needs extra resources."

Mrs Milner who has two children at a selective school and two at an inner London comprehensive, said: "I can see the differences in the general approach."

Her main concern is teacher shortages.

She said: "However much you have ideas, if you can't get teachers to carry them through, what's the point?

"All of these changes in isolation are good, but without an overall plan which provides for all the population, it's rotten."

Click for more on the education proposals

England

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See also:

20 Jul 01 | UK Education
17 Jul 01 | UK Education
17 Jul 01 | UK Education
21 Jul 01 | Mike Baker
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