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Whatever happened to the principle of localism?

If the local council is running its schools badly it is the responsibility of their voters to vote them out.

The central government should ensure that their voters have enough information on a very regular basis to empower the voters to act.

Localism went out the window ages ago. It was used as a ruse to get the public listening, but since it has barely appeared in the Conservative message.

As for the policy, the way Michael Gove phrases it, hes implying that only Conservative areas are run properly and that only non Conservative areas are to be affected. It would be nice to have a clarification that the policy is to act in the best interests of the pupils, not the political party interests. Dont play politics with the futures of the next generation, its not nice and wont help attract support.

There is no real localism in these areas. In many Labour strongholds voters are prisoners of Labour councils and if the LibDems get in then they are also slaves of public sector interests. This is the only way of helping local parents.

At the moment, these measures fail to address the more stubborn problems in education. Where are the initiatives on expanding vocational schools and improving the standards in our academic qualifications? At the moment this is still too much of a scattered approach to policy.

Surely a parent co-operative is MORE local than a local authority which could have lots of other schools to boost its statistics. Local control is clearly a beneficial aim but there has to be some kind of mechanism to rescue failing schools.

Umbrella man March 25

Removing the schools lets the badly run councils off the hook and reduces the range of issues that councillors are actually held accountable for.

Do we seriously think that Whitehall civil servants are a better alternative to locally elected councillors?

I am amazed at how this idea got approved.

I used to be impressed by Micael Gove.

I think Mr Gove should clarify his remarks. Does he mean that this policy will only apply to areas where schools are considered poor and one party has been in power for ages? If so what about a very poor school which is in a town which does very well in the league tables? Will they be ignored because most schools are good in that area?

Local education authorties are a problem. I often find that the kind of tories who defend them live in tory areas. I live in a strong Labour area and know how incompetent and often greedy they are. This policy seems to go in the right direction but lets not just give failing schools freedom, lets give it to all schools.

From what I’ve seen, a school's quality nearly always comes down to the quality of the head teacher. The only change we need is to pay head teachers more but boot them out if they're no good.

I propose fixed-term contracts for head teachers with parents deciding whether the contracts are automatically renewed.

I am surprised by the negative reaction here. I thought this a great idea.

As far as I understand it nobody is suggesting that Whitehall take over, but rather that a number of more accountable alternatives could be used.

What we need in education is diversity and competition, and this goes a long way toward that goal.

The comments are negative because Gove's reforms (though plaudits to him over the rest of the shower, sorry shadow cabinet, for actually having any reforms)are all about process and control. He's just swapping ownership from one indifferent landlord to another. Get government, including local govt, out of education altogether. It should just be schools and parents. Government's role should be confined to measuring and reporting on standards.

This means
Royal College of Education
Scrapping the Dept for Education

Don't stop there, why can we not get our Armed services to adopt inner city schools and turn them into military academies, all voluntary, they could have service instructors (as well as ex service). Kids who have no father figure crave authority and security; if the short sharp shock taught us anything then this is the case.

If the Army, Navy & Air Force had their own academies then there would be a clear career path into the military, solving the problem of inadequate recruits and giving young people a moral code and a framework governed by personal discipline.

A 21st century version of National Service, its been tried before in East LA and turned a failing gang infested school into the most popular school in the district, a lesson for us to learn?

Agree with Mark at 11.24, something I have been saying for ages. The biggest single factor in the success or failure of a school is the headteacher. When you have a good one you can move mountains (almost despite money or intake) and where you have a bad one things go down hill rapidly. Our attention needs to focus on how we encourage the best headteachers in the world and get rid of the bad headteachers.

I hope HF at 10.20 is asking the wrong question:

"Do we seriously think that Whitehall civil servants are a better alternative to locally elected councillors?"

The answer to that is clearly "No" but I have twice asked Michael Gove about this and he has twice assured me that the tories will reintroduce something along the lines of grant maintained schools i.e. the governors, parents and head would run the school: "Managed locally, funded centrally".

GM schools worked very efficiently and drove up standards.

As Matt Wright at 18.13 so wisely reminds us:

"The biggest single factor in the success or failure of a school is the headteacher".

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