Prorogation of Parliament has given me the opportunity to take my son Oliver to school for the first time since he started full-time in September. He is 4 years old and absolutely loves it; indeed he has been complaining that he can’t go on a Saturday and Sunday, which I am sure won’t last! It is a good job he enjoys it given that Ed Balls seems determined (according to press reports) to press ahead with the idea of raising the school leaving age from 16 to 18.
If we had pop-style Charts for the worst ideas this Labour government has come up with, this one from Ed Balls would go straight in at number 1!
The reason why Balls is keen to do this is because he is embarrassed about the fact that we have 1.25m 16-24 year olds neither in employment, education or training (Neets).
The government’s spin obsessed thinking is that if they have to stay on in education until 18; this will reduce this shameful statistic.
What the Government should be doing is a) ensuring we have an education system which allows everyone to leave with at the very least the basic skills they will need in the workplace and b) tackle the welfare and benefit system to get these youths off their backsides and into work including time limiting benefits. That would be too hard for the government so they are going for an option which will provide teachers with more disruptive pupils to deal with, and will be yet another exercise in throwing money down the drain.
The best thing some of these youths could develop is a work ethic. Why Balls thinks people can only learn if they are in formal education or training is beyond me. I learned a great deal in my time working as a bookmaker and at ASDA.
We must be mad in this country to pay for so many youths to idle about nothing, whilst allowing into the country so many migrants to do low paid and low skilled jobs these youths should be doing who are currently languishing on welfare dependency.
Have we really produced so many unemployable youths? If so Balls will need to do much better than just keep them off the benefit statistics for a couple more years.