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Shining a light on Labour's education failure

Tim Montgomerie

I've argued before that Labour's education legacy can be likened to its budget legacy. On Thursday Michael Gove published a huge amount of information about GCSE results. It's the first phase in a programme that will see the whole education system become transparent for parents. The Labour government kept this information secret in order that they could continue to mislead the public about the true state of our school system.

Transparency By publishing the information, against the fierce resistance of many aspects of the Education Establishment including the teachers unions, Gove has shone a light on the true state of our schools and the extent to which schools were encouraged by Labour to put children into duff courses to manipulate league tables. Gove plans even more radical transparency regarding data in January 2012 when the new league tables are published and there will no doubt be huge resistance to his plans. (It was interesting that Burnham, being caught between the Union hostility to transparency and public support for it, remained silent.)
Having done this, it will be nearly impossible for a future Labour Government to reverse. This is, therefore, one of those reforms that costs barely anything yet will have a profound and permanent impact on the system.

Conservative Ministers urgently need to develop similar policies that not only have an immediate effect but change the system in ways that will be hard for future Governments to overturn.

Meanwhile, on the education front, the News of the World previews Michael Gove's crackdown on school discipline, to be unveiled tomorrow. Schools will have new powers to...

  • "Restrain youngsters who are fighting and manhandle disruptive pupils out of the classroom;
  • Detain them after school without giving 24 hours' notice to parents- with greater powers to search pupils;
  • Punish or exclude students who make false or malicious allegations about any member of staff;
  • Expel disruptive children without fear of being forced to take them back by an appeals tribunal."

More here (£).


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