While at state school parents' evening recently, I happened to be chatting to a friend who is a teacher at a nearby private school. At the state school parent evening, you get a five minute slot to chat to each teacher. This stops it from being boring, but it does make things chaotic because some of the parents run over and the timetable doesn't last more than the first few minutes. Then it turns into a weird survival of the fittest, whereby the parents with the most tattoos and piercings, get to jack the queues and you end up having to wait for ages. Anyway, he told me that he has to prepare for every child at his school and all of the parents show up (of course, because they are paying something like £18,000 per year for each child) and they have 20 minute slots, during which the parents grill him about why the children aren't achieving A* in everything because a mere A isn't worth the money. (I once met an advisor to a hedge fund, someone considerably richer than me -- he has four kids at private school -- who told me, entirely seriously, that if his kids didn't get in to Oxford or Cambridge then he would get them in to a foreign university and help them to emigrate because they would have no future in the UK.)
Anyway, my point is that my friend who is a teacher was bemoaning the fact that he couldn't afford to send his daughter to the private school he wanted her to go to, and said that she was now going to get worse GCSEs. I didn't ask why, but maybe the discipline, rather than the teaching or the facilities is the key. I remember one of my sons complaining to me about the poor discipline at the state school I had condemned him too. I tried to comfort him by explaining that it made perfect sense to let the less academically-minded smoke pot on the far playing field instead of bringing them in to disrupt lessons, but he wasn't persuaded. This is why I've decided to lend my support to the Archbishop of Canterbury's campaign to bring Sharia Law to Britain after reading about the 13-year old Saudi Arabian girl who was sentenced to 90 lashes and two months in jail after she was caught using a mobile phone at school. This is the sort of clear and direct policy that would have a very positive impact on most state schools.
This is not the only improvement that might be imported. Apparently under Sharia Law schoolchildren can get between 300 and 500 lashes for assaulting a teacher. Not only "can", in fact, but "do".
Three years ago 16 schoolchildren, aged between 12 and 18, were each sentenced to between 300 and 500 lashes for being aggressive to a teacher.[From Saudi girl, 13, sentenced to 90 lashes after she took a mobile phone to school | Mail Online]
I can see why the Archbishop said (a year after his initial call for this much-needed reformation of our legal system on religious lines) that, despite all of the whinging from the Liberal media, public opinion is coming round to his view.
"So I think there is a drift of understanding of what I was trying to say, perhaps I like to think so."[From Archbishop of Canterbury: Society is coming round to my views on sharia - Telegraph]
The obvious next step, in my opinion, is for the Archbishop to introduce Sharia Law into Church of England schools. This farsighted move would simultaneously drive up parental demand for places at those schools and deliver significantly better exam results for the community. Using the new structures set up by Michael Gove, it ought to be straightforward to begin setting up the first Sharia-based Academy Schools and put this country back on its feet again.
Incidentally, if you're curious as to why I was reading a two year old newspaper article about girls being lashed at a Saudi Arabian school, there is an innocent explanation! When I was pottering about in London last week, I found myself on a tube station platform. On the opposite platform was a party of schoolgirls with a couple of teachers. The girls looked to be about 11 or 12. I suppose about half of them were wearing Muslim headscarves, but there were a small number (three or four) who were actually wearing full burkhas. I couldn't stop myself from wondering… how does anyone know that they are schoolgirls and not agents of a foreign power about the kidnap the daughter of some British PSP (politically-significant person, a phrase drawn from anti-money laundering legislation), perverts who had sneaked into the classroom or illegal immigrants who were operating incognito until such time as they could get a pet cat and use this in order to obtain the right to say in the UK.
This gave me a great idea for a book, and so I googled to find out whether girls where burkhas to school under Sharia Law.