Labour vows to crack down on failing free schools and 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.
Monday 17 June 2013
Labour is pledging a crackdown on academies and free schools if it is returned to power at the next election.
The party’s education spokesman, Stephen Twigg, said it would give councils the right to deliver early warning notices of failure to them if there was any evidence their standards were slipping. In addition, the Local Government Ombudsman will be given powers to investigate any allegations of covert selection made against them by parents.
At present, councils can only deliver warning to schools under their control – while there are no powers for the Ombudsman to intervene in complaints over academy and free school admissions procedures. In a speech to the Royal Society of Arts yesterday, Mr Twigg said Labour “wouldn’t tolerate failing academies and free schools”.
“They should be held to the same high standard. Any that fail will be given a chance to turn things around or they will have to take on a new sponsor and leadership,” he added. “Local authorities should be able to issue early warning notices to academies and free schools in the same way as they can for maintained schools, so underperformance is challenged early.”
On school admissions, he said there was too much “social selection playing out in the system”. This was supported by the fact that the proportion of children from low-income families in the top 500 comprehensives was less than half the national average.
Under Labour, there would be no new free schools, but it would encourage the setting up of “parent-led academies” in local communities.
Mr Gove reacted by saying Labour’s policy on free schools was “so tortured they should send in the UN to end the suffering”. “On the one hand Stephen Twigg says he will end the free school programme but on the other he says he would set up ‘parent-led’ and ‘teacher-led’ academies – free schools under a different name.”
- 2 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
- 4 Scientists predict green energy revolution after incredible new graphene discoveries
Sean Abbott: Messages of support flood in for bowler after death of Phil Hughes
Black Friday 2014: Opening times for Asda, John Lewis, GAME, PC World and Argos
Dr Lam Hoe Yeoh: Voyeur doctor jailed for eight years after using network of hidden cameras to film patients, colleagues and friends on the toilet
'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
Scientists predict green energy revolution after incredible new graphene discoveries
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
Obama: The only people with the right to object to immigration are Native Americans
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Sarah Vine criticises lesbian mother Jack Monroe: 'If she was unsure about her sexuality, she should have taken greater precautions'
Ukip mocked after mistaking Westminster Cathedral – for a mosque
£30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This forward-thinking agency works with ...
£18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a rapidly expanding offi...
£40000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The successful candidate will b...
£13500 - £14500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting new opportunity has...