Patten to abolish students' closed shop
Donald Macintyre writes political sketches for The Independent, having been Jerusalem correspondent since 2004, covering Israel and the Occupied Territories, as well as travelling for the paper to Iraq, Turkey, Jordan, Libya and Egypt. As Political Editor and then Chief Political Commentator, he previously covered the John Major and early Tony Blair era. He has written for the Daily Express, Sunday Times, Times and Sunday Telegraph, and Sunday Correspondent. He is the author of Mandelson and the Making of New Labour (2000).
Sunday 04 October 1992
Mr Patten is expected to announce at the Tory party conference in Brighton this week that he is ready to introduce legislation which will make membership of the campus unions voluntary.
Successive Tory education secretaries have declared their intention to end the closed shop but legislation has equally consistently always been squeezed out of the parliamentary timetable.
One difficulty has been advice that any measure on the issue would have to be a 'hybrid' Bill - notoriously wasteful of parliamentary time.
After consultation with Commons authorities, Mr Patten has now established that a Bill is possible without being a hybrid. It is likely to be introduced in the 1993-4 session.
Tories have long resented the 1.5m-strong National Union of Students' anti-government campaigns on the poll tax, student loans and benefits.
The measure will herald a big transfer of funds and responsibilities for welfare services from the union to the universities themselves.
Ministers believe that the present leadership of the National Students' Union is reconciled to the changes in the law. Earlier this year, Sheffield Students' Union recommended that students be able to opt out of membership.
In his first party conference since taking over at Education, Mr Patten will pledge his determination to see 'rigour' in teaching. But he will also make clear that he accepts that teachers and parents do not want a welter of new legislation and reorganisation after the sweeping changes of the last few years.
Meanwhile he is expected to announce soon that he will set up a body to monitor the performance of GCSE examination boards. The boards have rebutted criticisms made in a preliminary inspectors' report that they had 'limited confidence' in their ability to maintain standards.
He is also considering ways of stimulating the formation of new exam boards which will specifically base their appeal to schools on their high standards.
- 1 Jeremy Clarkson 'sees no problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC
- 2 'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
- 3 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 4 London restaurant 34 creates champagne glass modelled on Kate Moss’ left breast
- 5 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
Russell Brand opposes anti-Semitism after death threats: 'We must disavow all forms of prejudice that lead to exclusion and execution'
James Foley 'beheaded': Isis video shows militant with British accent 'execute US journalist' – as hunt begins for killer
ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
Microbial life found living on the exterior of the International Space Station, say reports
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: SQL Developer (TSQL, S...
£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Front-End UI/U...
£30000 - £40000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C#.NET ...