November 18, 2003
Summer camps

Oh goodee, David Miliband has had another idea about how to harass teachers and complicate everyone's lives:

Every child could be offered a place at US-style summer camps, it emerged today.

Ministers believe the move could fire enthusiasm for school and build youngsters confidence.

Three pilot projects which ran this summer were deemed successes, the Department for Education and Skills said.

Now Schools minister David Miliband is poised to launch the scheme nationwide following further analysis next month.

Natalie Solent is not impressed:

… A pilot scheme was successful and so they are all convinced that a burst of wholesome exercise and outdoor living will send the young lads and lasses home flushed and happy for some reason other than the usual Ecstasy tablet / successful shoplifting expedition / fornication.

So we're back to ten mile runs and outdoor living, eh? What's the betting that next year's miracle cure is the long-neglected educational virtue of cold showers.

These poor deluded innocents never seem to figure out that experimental pilot schemes frequently succeed because they are pilot schemes; i.e. new and not offered to everybody. Remember Home-School Contracts? When some head teacher first thought up that wheeze it probably did work well. Gosh, thought the kids and the parents, a contract, we better take this seriously. But once every child in the country gets one in his school bag at the end of the first day back it becomes just another bit of paper to sign.

Wise words. Some good may come of this idea. More harm. Huge expense. Oh, and crooks organising camps that turn out not to be, while the kids stay at home and the parents get their cut of the swag. Just you wait. If I am wrong, I like to think I'll have the decency to link back to this and admit it. If I'm right, you can count on me linking back.

The sad thing is that instead of spending his life making the lives of headmasters hell, David Miliband might have made quite a good headmaster himself.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 10:01 PM
Category: Politics