The last couple of days have seen local government proposals to close hundreds of small village schools in the England, and central government proposals to build Titan ‘super-prisons’ in England and Wales.
Both policies seem in doubt now, as central government has written to local governments reminding them of their obligations to keep small schools running, and prison inspectors have written to central government telling them that ‘super prisons’ would be a really bad idea.
I hope people are wise enough to see the connection between the two stories. Large schools create communities where children are anonymous, not known well by staff, and this breeds poor behaviour. Investment in smaller, more relationally focused education will, eventually, reap savings in a smaller prison population later.
But that would require thinking beyond the 4-term cycle of General Elections. I hope we can see long-term enough to cough up now. Locking up thousands more simply can’t be the answer.