Standards blitz sees 1,000 under-performing primary schools facing closure or conversion into academies
Richard Garner has been Education Editor of The Independent for 12 years and writing about the subject for 34 years. Before becoming a journalist, he worked as a disc jockey in London pubs and clubs and for a hospital radio station. His main hobbies are cricket (watching these days) and theatre. On his days off, he is most likelt to be found at Lord’s or the King’s Head Theatre Club.
Tuesday 23 October 2012
Up to 1,000 under-performing primary schools face closure or conversion into academies under a dramatic new government blitz aimed at raising standards in schools.
Education Secretary Michael Gove announced today he would be writing to all MPs representing constituencies with large numbers of schools failing to reach the Government’s minimum target of 60 per cent of pupils being fluent in English and maths by 11.
He told a seminar organised by the think-tank Politeia that 310 of the country’s worst performing primary schools had already become academies with new sponsors - but the Government had to move “further” and “faster” on its reforms.
However, he added: “There are hundreds more under-performing primary schools - many concentrated in other disadvantaged communities where we need to act.
“Children in those schools are not receiving the education they deserve. And today I want to invite the MPs in those communities to work with me to open up the education system in their areas to the new providers who can raise standards.”
Last year’s primary school league tables showed there were 1,310 schools who had failed to meet the minimum target - of which around 1,000 have not been linked to new academy sponsors. The new drive is expected to usher in the biggest expansion yet of the academies programme in the primary sector.
Mr Gove said he had singled out schools in Derby and Leicester for an initial drive, adding: “In a number of communities the local forces of conservatism have worked against reform and have thrown every possible obstacle in the path of potential academy sponsors and free school founders trying to make a difference.” In Leicester, eight schools are below the minimum target while in Derby the figure is 13.
Ministers had faced “fierce opposition” - particularly in Haringey where parents at one primary school, Downhills, opposed moves to force it to become an academy, “An alliance including ther National Union of Teachers, other local unions, the Labour MP, the Socialist Workers Party and the SWP’s best-known supporter Michael Rosen united to defend the right of children to be badly educated under council control”,” said Mr Gove.
On Derby and Leicester, he added: “In both of these areas, standards are too low, with too many primaries which are judged by Ofsted (the education standards watchdog) to be unsatisfactory or which have performed below national expectations for many years.”
Test results in the regions were “far lower than pupils and parents have a right to expect”.
Mr Gove said he was shifting the focus of the academies programme towards primary schools because many secondary schools were “impeded by the quality of the education offered in primary schools”.
He acknowledged that some parents were “actively harming” their children’s future through the way they were being brought up.
Labour MP for Nottingham North Graham Allen said schools in his constituency were seeing children arriving for primary school “unable to read or recognise the difference between a letter or a number, they arrive sometimes in nappies, unable to speak a sentence”.
“As you probably can tell, I think it’s important that we exercise a degree of restraint when we think about state intervention,” said Mr Gove, “but I think we can both agree that there are a group of children for whom the state has to intervene because they will grow up in circumstances so chaotic that it’s not just the case that they are neglected, it is the case that they are actively harmed by the failure to be in a nurturing environment where their brain can develop.”
Out-of-touch MPs ‘don’t get it’, says ex-Civil Service chief
George Clooney and Amal fail to get special treatment at New York restaurant
Cindy Crawford 'un-PhotoShopped' viral Marie Claire image was doctored, photographer claims
'A girl is more responsible for rape than a boy': The statement that shocked the world... except India
The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
Boris Nemtsov shot dead: Outspoken Putin critic who had expressed fears for his life is killed near the Kremlin
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 Drugs Live cannabis trial: Hash is less harmful than any other drug, expert claims
- 3 Turkish Airlines flight TK 726 crash-lands on Nepal runway in dense fog
- 4 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 5 The majority of sex workers enjoy their job - why should we find that surprising?
£45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and reputable Not for Profit o...
Voluntary post, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Would you ...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree have recently been awa...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...