If it’s broke...


Ian Craig, England's Chief Schools Adjudicator, has called on councils to make random checks on 10% of school applications to cut fraud and set up hotlines to catch parents who ‘cheat’ to get their children into their chosen school.

As it's only Mr Craig’s job to determine admissions arrangements, he really has only two options in the face of the estimated 4,200 fraudulent applications that were made in England: do nothing or act. In choosing the latter, he is advocating bringing in abhorrent impositions upon the freedom of the people of this country. This always happens when the state has a near monopoly on anything, fails to satisfy the demand, and people as a consequence dare to break the rules.

The real bogeyman in this instance is the Schools Secretary Ed Balls. He backs Mr Craig’s ideas. His defense of this position belies the failure of his government's approach to schooling:

While I am reassured that only a tiny minority of parents apply dishonestly, I am also clear that every place gained by deception is denying another child their rightful place.

Mr Balls' cake is only so big, so we can only have so many 'good' state schools: bad luck if you don't live in the right area.

And the following rhetorical twisting and turning shows that despite his best intentions, Mr Balls is ideologically up the proverbial creek without an intellectual paddle in sight:

No child should be punished for their parents' actions, but neither should families on waiting lists be unfairly disadvantaged or delayed.

I have not an ounce of bad will towards parents who lie about where they live in order to get their children into the best schools possible. These are taxpayers that have been let down by the government's failure to deliver an adequate education for their children.

I’ll end with a quote from a spokeswoman for the Local Government Association on this matter:

In an ideal world there would be no need to ask councils to investigate parents, because the system works best when everyone is honest and open in applying for school places.

What was it that Kant said about always treating people as ends in themselves, never as means to an end?