Podium: I pledge an education system that is more accountable to parents

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If parents are dissatisfied with the availability of good school places in their local area or with the mix of provision on offer – then we have an obligation to respond to their concerns.

We have made significant progress on providing all parents with a good choice of school This year 83 per cent of parents got their first choice school and 94.6 per cent got one of their first three choices. And through policies like the national challenge we will continue to drive up the quality of school places and so improve the options for parents.

But I want to go further still. So we will look at how local authorities can improve their knowledge of what parents want and how satisfied they are with their local schools, and where there is significant dissatisfaction with the pattern of secondary school provision, and where standards across an area are too low – then the local authority will be required to act.

This could mean either the creation of a federation of schools, an expansion of good school places or, in some cases, the establishment of entirely new schools.

Working towards these improvements needs to happen within the context of a system of fair admissions – so that the education of other children in the area will not be undermined. Unlike the free-market free-for-all, this is a policy agenda focused on raising standards for all – not raising standards for some at the expense of others.

Through the steps I have outlined today we will deliver a system that is more accountable to parents:

*Offering them more access to information,

*Emphasising an increasingly personal approach to the teaching and support their child receives,

*Enforcing stronger discipline

*And providing testing and assessment with a school report card that informs them about the performance of the school in a well-rounded way, not just in the basic traditional subjects but across the breadth of the education the school delivers.

Through extending the reach of our best leaders as executive heads, and in the development of chains and federations, we will improve schools across the country so that we raise standards for all – not just standards for some.

Taken from a speech given by the Prime Minister at Prendergast School in south London yesterday