Submitted by Martin Dore on Mon, 09/06/2014 – 11:32
The Labour Party is currently consulting on what policies should go into the general election manifesto next year. As far as education concerned they have published a draft ‘Education and Children’ consultation document. You can find it on the Your Britain website here. The David Blunkett Review of ‘Education structures, functions and the raising of standards for all’ has also been published recently., CLPs and other organisations, such as the SEA, affiliated to the Party, have been discussing how to respond to this document. We have now submitted four amendments to the Party on the education paper and one each in the ‘Better Politics’ and ‘Stronger, safer communities’ categories. In summary our priorities are as follows: 1. We think the language in David Blunkett’s report better sums up what Labour believes about the purpose of education. We also think that our proposals regarding vocational education reflect widespread support in the Party and trade union movement for genuine parity of esteem on the part of all young people. 2. We would like to see a specific welcome given to the Husbands report with its emphasis on an over-arching baccalaureate framework. Post 16 education needs more than re-vamp and should be geared to the needs of all young people in the 21st century. We would also like to promote a special package of education and support aimed at that particular generation of young people who have lost out under the Coalition government. We believe this is only just recompense for earlier lost generations and would be electorally popular with Labour voters. 3. We would like to see more emphasis on local accountability and a clearer role for local authorities. We would adopt several of the recommendations contained in the Blunkett Review and would stress that should any of the Directors of School Standards be appointed, they should be wholly accountable to those local authorities which appointed them. They should provide reports, relevant data analysis and evidence of working constructively with all their partners. They should also provide a forum for all interested partners to attend and to which they should present their reports. 4. We would like to see a reformed and politically independent inspection system. We would like more emphasis on collaboration, with less unnecessary confrontation. There should be assessment of school’s progress as judged against how well they develop children’s knowledge, skills and qualities. We believe that relying largely on narrow tests in English and Maths is anti-educational and that any testing should be diagnostic rather a classification exercise. You can read the full text of the SEA amendments below.