I attended the meeting organised by Compass this week on education. Stephen Twigg, Margaret Tulloch,Ken Spours, Becky Francis, Lisa Nandy MP and Sir Alastair MacDonald were the main speakers.
Whilst there was a good deal of consensus on some key points (if pretty obvious ones) such as the need for a high quality,well-supported teaching force I felt that some issues might well have been skirted round had they not been raised from the floor. For example, the whole question of whether all political parties now accept the virtual demise of LAs was not really addressed until question time.
Above all, I am still left baffled about why an academy sponsor, however highly principled, is superior to an elected council in the supporting/oversight role for schools .
I felt we were expected to sigh with delight at the thought of the co-operative society or the RSA sponsoring schools. As I have a vote for neither body I don't share the enthusiasm and I found the RSA representative rather patronising about LAs.
'I have seen examples of good practice in some local authorities'.
I thought one of the key points made was by the speaker who noted that he knew of no major country
where there was no support authority between the central government and the local school,however small and remote - and yet that is the logic of where the present government policies (perhaps supported by the opposition?) is leading us.
And I have never heard a convincing explanation, as some one who was head of a good and popular school for nearly twenty years , what it was I was missing through not being a grant maintained school or later an academy. (Well,of course, I was missing some money because the conservative governments of both Major and Cameron gave extra funding to the favoured few -at the start at least! )
The other issue which caused a good deal of debate was that of 'narrowing the gap', obviously an avowed
priority of all three major parties. May put some thoughts on this later but as there is no 'save' facility here I'd better post this before my laptop blacks out which is does sometimes.