The GMB has drawn our attention to what Stephen Twigg is up to on Education policy. And you won’t like it. Remember Liam Byrne? Now that he’s got no job to go to in Birmingham, we’re stuck with him “running” the policy review until the next reshuffle. Buried on Liam’s Fresh Ideas website is an education policy consultation document – Devolving Power in Education – School Freedom and Accountability. The key thrust that we and the GMB object to is this:
Labour has no desire to turn back the clock and return powers from schools to Local Authorities. Nor do we want to see a reduction in the autonomies we gave schools through academies, trust schools and federations. In fact, although school autonomy is not the focus of this consultation, I want to see more schools get the freedoms that allow them to serve their pupils and communities most effectively.”
The document goes on to talk about creating a “middle tier”. A provider of shared services sitting between schools and central government. It could be elected or it could be appointed by central government.
Kath Robinson, Vice-Chair of the GMB Schools National Committee, said:
Committee members have expressed serious concerns about the Tory policies being advocated by Mr Twigg. The future of academies and free schools should not be out-of-bounds areas in any Labour Party education policy review.
By breaking-up the local-authority family of schools Michael Gove is making it more and more difficult to deliver integrated and accountable services to children. Costs to taxpayers are also likely to rise as economies of scale are lost and as heads push up their own salaries. There are little or no guarantees of better educational outcomes. Gove is also using public money to fund the start-up costs of the private companies which lie behind these academies.
Labour needs to offer a real, democratic alternative to these reckless Tory policies. Parents and staff in local-authority maintained schools continue to hope for Labour support in any local campaign against any school becoming academies especially in cases of forced conversion as in Haringey.
Quite so. Give us a vote on this at Labour party conference, and we’ll show you what Labour has a desire to do, Stephen. In the meantime, get your responses in to Stephen’s office by 10 July and keep them clean! And checkout the Antiacademies Alliance.