Education Education Education.....
....bellowed Tony Blair in another life back in ’97. Education remains one of the cornerstones of how you judge a modern society, but what has it got to do with football? Quite a lot as it happens!
KEIOC along with our counterparts across the park, the Spirit of Shankly, are long proponents of promoting education in our communities hence why it featured as a key mainstay of The Football Quarter. This week has seen several examples of why education was always going to be a key feature.
Liverpool FC recently confirmed that it had linked up with the London School of Business & Finance (LSBF) to offer programmes in sports management and leadership. The programmes will be delivered at their Kirkby academy via a new institution called Education and Learning Initiative Training Entrepreneurs in Sport (ELITES).
In another separate development the Premier League has announced it has backed a new Government plan to invest in primary school sport. The Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged £150m a year to improve coaching for the youngest pupils in every state primary school and to inspire the Olympic and Paralympic stars of the future and is allowing the schools to decide how their budget is spent. Premier League chief, Richard Scudamore, said “Today’s commitment from the Government to invest in school sport should be welcomed and celebrated by anyone involved in sport at any level. High-quality multi-sport coaching delivered by bodies like Premier League clubs means that more schoolchildren will get the benefits that sport, as part of their education, delivers. We are looking forward to doing our bit."
The problem is that when entering the political arena you leave yourself open to becoming embroiled in duplicity. Take this £150m pledge from call me Dave. When education minister Gove eradicated the £162m budget for the School Sports Parnership [SSP] there was a national outcry from educationalists.
We’re no experts at KEIOC but we spot a con and a conman at twenty paces
The SSPs paid for PE teachers to co-ordinate sports tuition and inter-school events and for smaller primaries, without specialist sports teachers, to share staff. Funding was slashed by 60 per cent and will run out completely this summer - despite promises that the Olympics would "inspire a generation of young people through sport”.
So with are razor sharp state education we've calculated that call me Dave and call me every name under the sun Gove have cut that particular budget by £12m so let's all give three cheers for the PM....no? Oh, okay then.
Everton have also entered the polictical arena of education by opening a free school. Free school’s are regarded as a political device of the Conservative Party who promote them in preference to state funded facilities. Their budgets are derived from the budget allocated to the state facility as clearly under this government there is no additional funding; free schools only exist at the expense of state facilities. Evertonians and the local press were informed that the target audience for the Everton Free School, pupils that have been excluded from mainstream education, have nowhere else to turn to for their education.
This was somewhat misleading in a call me Dave kind of way as the City of Liverpool operate several top class facilities called pupil referal units which are staffed by highly skilled teachers who have the skill and experience to handle these difficult pupils. In fact one such PRU has recently been commended by OFSTED, the Netherley PRU, whilst the partner Everton has chosen for its venture, Liverpool Community College, has been heavily critisied in last weeks OFSTED report which gave it the lowest possible rating.
Fraught with danger and potentially damaging is any excursion into the unknown. Let’s hope Everton’s treatment of their critic Richard Knights doesn’t damage reputations and careers as he tenaciously rights the wrongs and the slur on his character and in a similar way Everton’s Free School doesn’t damage the brand and reputation of Everton FC and EiTC.