Mixed views on education White Paper

By on 30/06/2009 in News

lawrence-les2Birmingham City Council's Cabinet Member for Children's Services today questioned some of the measures outlined in the Government's latest education reform plans.

Cllr Les Lawrence, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families, said proposals announced today had some “interesting elements” but also “areas of concern”.

In particular, he criticised moves to give schools the power to take parents of poorly behaved children to court outlined by Children's Secretary Ed Balls in a White Paper entitled Your Child, Your Schools, Our Future: Building a 21st Century Schools System.

Cllr Lawrence said: “While it is right that parents should understand their rights and responsibilities, the threat of action if it is intended to be productive shouldn't be left to schools – it should be under the jurisdiction of the local authority otherwise the cost in time delays the whole process and it becomes cumbersome.”

Cllr Lawrence welcomed moves to give one-to-one tuition to pupils who are falling behind as something they would “benefit considerably” from.

However, he stressed the Government needed to spell out the extent to which it was backing the White Paper new money or merely repackaging funding that had already been announced.

“We are entering very difficult times for public financing and we need to be able to show that any changes are beneficial and that we have the ability to sustain and monitor and evaluate them.”

Referring to proposals to allow high-performing schools to create chains with other schools and develop a brand identity, Cllr Lawrence said collaborative work was already happening in Birmingham.

But he warned that merging schools could distract from the improvements the authority was seeking to make.

Cllr Lawrence responds to education white paper

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