Crowdfund Kent!

greeceI am a big fan of the Crowdfund Greece campaign, this is a silly but almost heroic attempt to raise 1.6 billion to bailout Greece. It involves people pledging to buy greek salads and bottles of ouzo sourced in Greece to help the economy. Due to the mechanics of crowdfunding everyone will get their money back, and no salads will be made unless the full €1,600,000,000 is raised.

So far 107,829 people have made a pledge, but even though €1,913,703 is an impressive amount that billion target is but a dream.

It’s a nice dream though, don’t you think? And maybe a few people will buy feta cheese or ouzo just because it raises awareness of the Greek economy.

Kent education is not a talking point these days so I was wondering about a jokey crowdfunding campaign to raise awareness of selective education. How about crowdfunding to give poor kids a chance in the eleven plus exam?

There is loads of evidence that education in selective regions is worse for the less well off, and even bright poor kids do worse. Mostly they don’t take the grammar school places so social mobility doesn’t work.

tutor-banner3jpgAnother problem is that poor families can’t afford tutors. Unfortunately most of my wealthier mum friends do get tutors for their children, and this is not at all fair.

Many disadvantaged kids don’t have parents who will practise with them either. So all this means that we have a flawed system that disadvantages low income families. Claims that the test is now ‘tutor proof’ are hard to find. It doesn’t seem to have stopped the eleven plus tutoring business. One of the many eleven plus sites had this to say on the subject, ‘There are certain areas where the tests are described as being “tutor-proof”, however even in those areas a good vocabulary and solid mental maths skills will always play a large part in success, so don’t be discouraged if you read that a test allegedly cannot be tutored for.’

So let’s assume that our Kent disadvantaged kids need tutoring to catch up with the advantaged kids. Let’s save Kent education crowdfunding style!

There are 4035 disadvanaged pupils in Kent primary schools, so let’s try getting them all a tutor with a crowdfunding campaign.

Let’s see how much we need to raise…

The Mumsnet forums are full of posts about tutoring, and according to the mums there the going rate is £23 an hour. The eleven plus sites have advice on years 3 and 4 and say, ‘To prepare a child from the middle of year four onwards costs can vary between £2,500 and £5,000 depending on hourly rate and the number of hours a tutor delivers. This however may well seem like good value when compared to private day school fees of £13,000 per year.”

But let’s not go mad with the cost, and sadly it won’t work to send the kids to private day schools. The sensible Mumsnet mums suggest starting in January to give eight months tuition. So for 32 weekly lessons we’re going to need £736 per child. There will be books on top of that, and lots available, but we’ll go for a reasonable £5.39 11 plus practice guide.

So how much we need to make Kent education fair for poorer kids? This works out at £2,991,508 to give all these kids the same chance as the middle classes.

We could have other crowdfund perks too. How about a wealthy sponsor buying a nice new non-selective school?

Or, what about simply forgetting this whole plan and getting Kent a new comprehensive education system? Cost: free.

No, hang on, administration for the Kent Test is £348,000 a year so a nice fair system is less than free!

Of course all this is flippant and we don’t need crowdfunding at all. We just need a chance to change Kent education.

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