Margins will always be with us. They exist in every facet of life. If we’re deciding on what car to buy, we’ll look at price margins to determine the best value for our budget. In sport, margins separate winners from losers, and to what extent the loser has been defeated. But education isn’t like sport, despite politicians’ best attempts to degenerate it into a competition with national league tables and exam results.
The world is full of inequality. The disparity between educational experiences of different groups is as stark as a Formula 1 car racing against a family minivan. Margins you wouldn’t bear thinking about. For example, having parents that earn above a certain amount means some children can live in certain areas where the schools are superior- and thus the margin begins. Parents who value literacy and place books in the home- there goes the margin broadening once again. If a child comes from a family of degree holders- that margin has just become even wider. And wider and wider it grows until it becomes impossible to narrow.
But here’s the thing. It’s not impossible to narrow. If we are committed to reducing inequality, we can create a school system and wider community where we celebrate literacy and books at every opportunity given. We can commit to hiring the best teachers and equipping our schools with fine resources so that those kids know what the best looks and feels like.
In essence, we can narrow the margins if we are willing to do the work and pay the cost.