Education policies 'creating confusion'

ERIC BOLTON, the former senior Chief Inspector of Schools, yesterday made a fierce attack on the Government's education policies, and said the present situation is 'unstable and unsustainable'.

He accused the Government of creating uncertainty and confusion, and said it would only listen to fashionable voices on the right who gave advice it wanted to hear.

Professor Bolton, who retired as head of Her Majesty's Inspectorate last year, and who is now Professor of Teacher Education at London University's Institute of Education, said that under the Government's market philosophy 'clients and customers rule and any gathering of professionals or experts is, by definition almost, bound to be a conspiracy against the consumer'.

Government was increasingly active in the detailed organisation of what was happening on the ground, and had made it clear that it no longer regarded local education authorities as its major partner in a national system of education.

'If the Government does not allow LEAs to influence schools significantly, it becomes increasingly nonsensical for the law to insist that the duty to ensure sufficient, suitable places lies with them.'

Schools were becoming increasingly autonomous, making decisions only of importance to them. 'It is surely a triumph of hope over experience to expect that such self-interested, isolated, fragmented decisions, made in thousands of separate institutions, will add up to a sensible, effective and efficient national school system.'

Music had, as a result, already suffered, because it was only through LEAs making larger provisions than schools that the service had developed. The same could be said of art, drama, and remedial teaching support.

He told the annual conference of the Council of Local Education Authorities, meeting in Liverpool, that a national system of schooling could not remain 'if it is to be shaped and determined by nothing other than the aggregation of the random, self-interested choices made by individuals in thousands of particular schools. A public education service must be subject to some degree of overall planning and organisation'.

The Government needed an overarching vision because without it 'the system risks becoming a stifling bureaucratic monster intent upon its own day-to-day survival in which people are treated like so much lost property . . .

'I suspect that if we were able to lift the veil hiding the Government's intentions for education we would find, not a coherent vision, worrying or otherwise, but uncertainty, confusion and incoherence.'

Professor Bolton said there was a lot of 'plain silliness' emerging from the present legislative scene. 'There are worrying signs that providing suitable and adequate school places, far from being eased and facilitated by recent legislation, is becoming more difficult and chaotic . . .

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Recruitment Genius: General Factory Operatives

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing