Chalk Talk: The fight to strengthen local government's role in education
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.
Wednesday 09 October 2013
The trouble with Graham Lane was, as the former local politician revealed to Newsnight's presenter Jeremy Paxman on BBC 2 in the mid-1990s, that he was always rather too forthcoming.
Lane, who was chairman of the Association of Metropolitan Authorities' education committee at the time, was being grilled by Paxman over the Ridings School in Calderdale – where teachers were threatening to go on strike unless up to 60 troublemakers at the school were expelled.
As Lane reveals in his recently published book, How Different Governments Have Weakened Local Government and Democracy, he surprised Paxman during the interview by revealing that he had visited the school and fully supported the action taken by the local authority to resolve the situation – in Paxman's eyes, the authority was supposed to be the bad guy.
Following the interview, Lane added: "My problem, unlike some politicians, was that I tended to answer the question put to me rather than answering a completely different one on which... [I] had been well briefed."
That directness was a trait that has marked Lane's career as the last local politician to have influence over the way the future of education was shaped.
Despite his book's title, it provides an interesting insight into the power struggles of the past two decades in education, coming to the conclusion that there may have to be a U-turn in the way policies have consistently weakened local government involvement in education. Trying to oversee 4,000 academies from the centre is too tall an order, he argues.
Lane was an adviser to Tony Blair's Labour government during the 1990s and was instrumental in getting the party to back education maintenance allowances for 16 to 19-year-olds to help them afford staying on at school – a policy subsequently axed by the Coalition Government.
Lane would not take "no" for an answer as the policy went through the decision-making process. He was a boxer in his younger days. I bet he always got right back into the fight when knocked down, just as he will continue arguing his case for education to anyone who will listen – even Paxman.
interviewThe producer and activist, Trudie Styler, whose film 'Filth' is up for five film awards, is tapping into the industry's neglected female talent
musicBlack Sabbath have pulled off one of rock music’s great comebacks – against all odds
interviewHer estate has become the nation's glossiest food empire
theatreTheatre's hitmaker Daniel Evans on 'Oliver' and bringing 'The Full Monty' to the stage
food + drinkMichelin-starred Tom Sellers on being this year's hottest property
tvParents (and kids) rejoice! A new wave of fantastic family entertainment is here
booksGeese, gorillas, grandads... and growing up
food + drinkHow one grocery e-tailer is gearing up for the Yuletide rush
food + drink
travelFor broadcaster Mishal Husain, a long-haul Club Med holiday was a chance for her family to explore its sense of 'zen' and 'animation'
food + drinkFestive snacks don't have to be fiddly, says Bill Granger
Hundreds arrested as Canadian police smash worldwide paedophile ring
Nelson Mandela: 11 inspirational quotes to live your life by
Ja Rule forced to deny leaving wife for prison cell mate
The 'terrorist' and the Tories: What did Nelson Mandela really think of Margaret Thatcher?
Crash pilot who threatened Ukip leader Nigel Farage found dead
- 1 Hundreds arrested as Canadian police smash worldwide paedophile ring
- 2 Sherlock series 3: Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman provide teasers for the biggest comeback in British television
- 3 David Duke: Former Ku Klux Klan leader expelled from Italy
- 4 Why Barcelona chose Everton to educate their latest prodigy
- 5 Japan cracks down on leaks after scandal of Fukushima nuclear power plant
- < Previous
- Next >
£31000 - £43000 per annum: Capita Education Resourcing Permanent Team: This se...
£27000 - £45000 per annum: Capita Education Resourcing Permanent Team: Lambeth...
£22000 - £38000 per annum: Capita Education Resourcing Permanent Team: This se...
£22000 - £37000 per annum: Capita Education Resourcing Permanent Team: This se...