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David Kurten’s Conference speech – Part One

David Kurten has kindly shared with us this transcript of his excellent Conference speech. Part Two, focussing on Ofsted, will be published on UKIP Daily tomorrow.



It was about 28 years ago that I was 18 years old and I set off to St Andrews bright eyed and bushy tailed to go and study at University.

The first experience that new students have at University is Freshers’ Week. I remember this as a great time of meeting and making new friends, joining clubs and generally enjoying your freedom.

However in the new era, increasing numbers of students are required to have some ‘Induction Training’ which features diversity and inclusion training. Before you can start your course you must attend some compulsory sessions for your ‘safety’ – because there is nothing more harmful to wellbeing than a microaggression! These are events where students feel that they are slightly uncomfortable and can include:

  • Asking someone where they are from
  • Telling a foreign person they speak good English
  • Not saying hello to someone
  • Not smiling at someone
  • Mansplaining
  • Eating foreign food
  • Dressing up as an Indian
  • Misgendering someone

Now this kind of thing is utter nonsense, and these courses should really be re-named – ‘How to be a Narcissistic Snowflake.’ Because that is the kind of people our Universities are churning out who are less use to society when they leave at 21 than when they went in at 18 – young people who cannot hear an opinion which they disagree with without being offended and needing to go and cry in their safe spaces.

We need to re-establish our Higher Education Institutions as Centres of Excellence for those with an academic talent – and allow students to discuss and debate issues with rigour and intelligence, and who can learn high level skills and carry out ground breaking research. There are of course, parts of our system which still do that: that muscle is still there, and it sits on a reputation for excellence going back a thousand years. The UK is still an attractive destination for foreign students to come and study – particularly from the Far East, which is a good thing. But that muscle is being covered by an ever increasing amount of fatty tissue, and that needs to be cut away so that those students who will not benefit can do an Apprenticeship or go to a technical skills training.

One of the worst decisions ever made was by John Major who turned all the Polytechnics into Universities, thus depriving generations of British young people of the opportunity to gain high level technical skill. This needs to change and what I say is ‘Bring back the Polytechnics!’

And for those who are not suited to any of these – get a job when you’re 16. Another bad decision of the Conservative Party was to increase the school leaving age to 18. This means that what was once a pleasure – to teach sixth formers, is now often a drudge – as more students take up A Levels who are simply not right for them. For some people, the right thing is simply to get a job, and they will learn more about real life doing two years working on a shop floor stacking shelves or making sandwiches, than they will spending years more flogging the dead horse of trying to get qualifications that they will never get.

I’m sure that the Inclusion Lobby will disagree, but not everybody is the same, and it is foolishness to try to force everyone down the Academic route when there are many better options for different people.



And the same applies to our secondary schools.

But children are not all one size. The ‘one-size fits all’ ideology introduced by Labour in the 1960’s decimated our tripartite system and we must slaughter this Marxist sacred cow. After all, most of the Labour apparatchiks send their kids to Grammar or private schools. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander!

Children have different abilities, aptitudes and temperaments. There are of course some wonderful teachers in comprehensive schools who do a great job where they are, but they are not right for everyone, and they are no longer right for the country.

The results of this disastrous policy are a continuing decline in core academic achievement – England continues to slide down the world rankings in PISA tests, and there is an exacerbation of the skills gap which has grown up over the last four decades, combined with grade inflation and fiddling of the exam boundaries to make it look like children and doing better than they are in their GCSEs.

The A to E standard in GCSE’s was abandoned years ago for the A* to G standard. Now so many people are getting A* that they introduced a new system of 1 to 9.

New A levels were also introduced this year in some subjects with final exam only marking – no coursework. Now this is a good thing. However, a few days before the results were announced, Ofqual went into a panic because with the return of the rigour of final exams, fewer students were going to pass – also a good thing. However, instead of letting those students who are not academically gifted fail and move on to something more suitable, they allowed the grade boundaries to be lowered so that more candidates would pass. In fact the grade boundary for a passing E grade was lowered from 42% to 29%. What a shambles!

This should not be happening and UKIP will change it. We need to be honest and realize that it is wrong to force all children through the academic route. If a child is talented in sports or music or art, no-one would disagree that they should not be selected to go to a specialist arts school or conservatoire or sports academy to hone their skills at a very young age. Yet when it comes to academic talent or technical or vocational skills, we have been cowed into silence and fearful of suggesting selection to appease the politically correct brigade.

We need to turn back from pursuing the one-size-fits all model for education and embrace a different system which will be good for the country and good for the individual children. We need to challenge the viewpoint which says that academic schools are up here, and everything else is down there; it is simply not true.

We need to consider that different kinds of schools at secondary level are good for different children with different aptitudes, talents and temperaments: grammar, technical, home, special, independent, church and other faith schools and comprehensive schools as equal – a true diversity in the real and good sense of the word, where there are different streams of education for different children.

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About David Kurten AM (4 Articles)
David Kurten AM is a member of the London assembly. He is currently a candidate in the UKIP Leadership Contest

15 Comments on David Kurten’s Conference speech – Part One

  1. A superb article, great common sense.

  2. I’m confused. Ive just read the post from Graham.

    Where’s this come from then ?

    Can we therefore assume that this is just a well honed arguement to which everyone knows the answers.? ( Except me )

    What are those answers and how do we refute them ?

    About Nigel. He always had a refutation ready. For us to use.

  3. I hope people realise that DK is a representative for Alan Craig and the Christian People’s Alliance. I was told by the CPA member who called me asking me to vote for DK that it should be Alan Craig standing but he couldn’t because his child is now a teenager and in the part of London they live in it would be too dangerous for Alan to have a high profile at the moment. So I think as long as people understand this it is fine, but I have not felt comfortable that this was not explored through the hustings process. Obviously Alan ran the campaign for DK so the connection wasn’t exactly hidden, but why people didn’t ask why the ex-leader of the CPA wasn’t standing himself? The CPA still exists and competes against us. In fact they have cells in all major parties as they started life as a cross-party venture. This is why Suzanne Evans was so against DK and called him unfit for elected office, well mainly because of the things he (and Alan) have said about gays, but also because of the hidden agenda.

    • Care to engage with anything David had to say? He is, after all, our Education Spokesman.

      • Nope, you don’t get to set the rules. He is being spoke of as a deputy leader so it is important people understand the background. I have never heard David speak about this publicly or declare it during hustings (I might be mistake of course as I didn’t attend every event) but I raise it because I haven’t seen anyone else raise it. In the same way, I was one of the first to raise the Jack Buckby – AMW issue back in July. No bias, just a search for facts.

        • Of course I’m not suggesting that I should set any rules here. Fair minded people will recognise that straight away. I’m making the fairly obvious point that you’re playing the man not the ball. And yet…

          I don’t suppose that David is anyone’s representative but his own. You assert that he is a cipher for Alan Craig and the Christian People’s Alliance. I don’t know much about either, but a little bit of background reading shows that Alan Craig is no longer a part of the Christian People’s Alliance and that his views and the CPA policies seem to be congruent with mainstream opinion in UKIP. As you yourself say, nothing was hidden, and there seems to be nothing to hide.

          I’m afraid I think your overreaction shows poor judgement.

  4. I’ve just been watching the peers debating education.

    Labour peers are off again with the fairies. Their ideas to me seem Both stupid, and crazed as well as just dangerous. I’m a supporter of the purpose and unelected aspects of the Lords. But these are Ex lib dems/labour elected MPs. They should be in a home somewhere.

    DK needs to check this nonsense out for us. If he can understand it. I can’t.

  5. David,

    Truly excellent.

  6. David Kurten speaks so much sense. Having worked in FE for a number of years struggling to get once failed GCSE English students through a second time, I can attest to what he says.

    I so much enjoyed his speech and had hoped it might appear on YouTube so it is a pleasure to read it here.

    He is an essential for a leading role.

  7. This could be a first class restart for UKIP.

    And as it stands you could try for a PhD.

  8. As it stands You could try for a PhD.

  9. An excellent article. It has the basis of a definitive paper which could change politicians minds. My hopefully helpful comments are

    1. I would suggest that you polish up everything in it to include bibliography, deductions, reasoning and conclusions,and make it as close into an academic paper as you can, and get it into the college library as soon as you can. St Andrews is good and will welcome thoughtful papers

    Knowledge then grows among those who matter. You may even read it to the RS. It certainly needs doing. And we need a counter to that madman Crossland and the damage he caused.

    2. Send a copy to Prof Bogdanov at LSE.

    3. Then do a precis without the unneccessary words or depth of reasoning for us ordinary mortals who are just too idle or intellectually lazy . (or just can’t spell. Or is this what I’m reading now?

    4 Someone said something about Education education, but it’s actually true.

    I look forward to part 2.

  10. An obvious and excellent education spokesman for Henry, or maybe something else bigger.

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