So here's a little fining that adds to the shine of our glorious state. Despite the fact that we spend some 5% of all of the value created in the country on education each year that glorious state school system can't actually manage to teach the kiddies to read:
The fear that 1.5 million British children will reach the age of 11 unable to "read well" by 2025 has prompted the launch on Monday of a new campaign backed by a coalition of businesses, charities, bestselling authors and teaching professionals.
The Read On. Get On campaign is aimed at making a radical improvement in reading standards one of the central goals of politics and education in the next decade. It is being spearheaded by Save the Children, the CBI and the Teach First charity and is unusual in the diversity of its supporters – they include authors JK Rowling and Michael Morpurgo plus a host of book publishers, the Sun newspaper and the Premier League.
One aim is to get the main political parties to include in their 2015 manifestos a commitment to improving the reading of the most disadvantaged.
So let's attempt to draft something for the manifesto of any party that wishes to pick it up shall we?
How about: "Schools that do not manage to teach children to read within a year of that child's entry to that school will be closed and all of the teachers fired"?
Or perhaps "Schools will teach children the value of self-structured play after they have taught them to read"?
Possibly even: "No teacher will receive a teaching qualification until they have demonstrated that they can teach a 5 year old to read"? With the obvious proviso that all of those who currently have a teaching cert must prove this over the next school holiday?
Something needs to be done after all: that education system does get 5% of everything and the State does claim a rightful monopoly on education (sure, they let a few slip away but they still claim that they should be educating everyone). So why on earth are we letting them get away with not performing their most basic duty?
After all, the Church schools of more than a century ago managed it, why can't "highly trained well resourced professionals" manage it? Education systems in other countries, many of which get considerably less money, also manage it.
Could it, possibly, just maybe, be because the current school system just isn't very well run?