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Will the new policy also change the way that pupil complaints against teachers are handled? At present if a child makes a complaint, the teacher in question suffers eve if the accusation is known to be baseless.

Many teachers have their careers ruined this way.

All really good stuff from the energetic and very bright Michael Gove. He really is very capable.

Nice to see what spin the BBC has put on the story it really is pathetic.

Ad -how right you are, it was truly pathetic. Equally pathetic - although so predictable - was the response from the Govt Minister and NASWUT which almost got as much time as the Tory proposals.Not a word that these proposals are modelled to a large degree on those in Sweden and have proved very succesful there.A reminder if we needed any exactly what opposition will immediately swing into action if we win the Election.

"....Head Teachers word will be final on exclusions...".

I'd like to see how far that goes in a court! Essentially you are proposing removing the right to an independent appeal hearing.

Umm, not gonna happen, m'learned friends will make quite sure of that as will the various Courts of the land.

And once again the taxpayer would foot the bill as (from what I've read) in the vast majority of cases, the costs are expected to be paid for by the councils.

In any case, the old idea crops up yet again that anyone can teach! If that's the case why do we insist on rigourous selection and training of our teachers.

Remember the basic fact, that Service Instructors are teaching subjects that their 'students' want to learn. Perhaps most importantly of all, the 'students' in the conxtext of the Services all want to be there and understand the need for the training!

Ahh yes, more and more flannel about 'appropriate schools' for certain children. Care to elaborate on what that actually means, never mind getting the staff to teach in them!

Interesting, no 'novel', idea to sweep away H&S laws and the idea that litigation will magically drop.

Guess what in the real world, most parents would go hell for leather after a teacher who was responsible for a school activity in which their child got injured.

Especially if the parents thought the school had played fast and loose with safety regulations or thought as a school it could get away with under-trained instructors.

The scandal would be deafening and the govt. of the day would find itself bringing in such safety regulations to prevent another tragedy.

Exactly right Peter. I am not a hypocrite and remain of the opinion that the BBC as an organisation has a lot to offer and should not on the whole be let down by it's news coverage.

However the way this story has been presented is laughable and should be obvious to anybody. Not only this it is shoddy unprofessional journalism.

"I will be a zealot when it comes to ensuring teaching by ability applies across the state sector"; and

"...a generation has been left incapable of reading due to 'trendy-lefty-beardy-weirdy thinking' on how to teach children to read."

Absolutely right, but completely inconsistent with the idea of setting schools free. A lot of these trendy lefties are teachers, and some of them are parents.

Good stuff.

Ad (1726), the BBC have been giving prominent reporting to Labour and union opposition to Michael Gove's policy on primary academy schools (just one aspect of policy). (Perhaps a foretaste of the BBC for when we're in government - we'll need a strategy to counter their efforts). But if left wing institutions like the Labour Party, teaching unions and the BBC are opposed, that must be an indication Mr Gove's policy is right!

Good stuff, but can we have something on cutting the university education faculties down to size? They train teachers!!!!!

Educating the long-term unemployed is absolutely crucial in freeing people from welfare dependency, yet the Labour government isn't interested in helping the jobless to re-train because it wants to keep the unemployed on its New Deal racket so it can make people 'disappear' from the offical count.

Below is a section from an offical government website. The Labour logic being that those already in work can claim a training grant to improve their skills while those out of work can't. How crazy is that?

"You won’t be able to get ALG if you claim getting ‘out of work’ benefits such as Jobseeker’s Allowance or Income Support.

However, most other types of financial help won’t make any difference to whether you can get ALG.

You can still apply if you’re working part-time – and if you’re claiming most ‘in work’ benefits, like Adult Education Bursaries, Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit."

I notice the BBC have changed thier headline.

Tony Makara,

You make a very good point. A number of years back under both Labour and Conservatives administrtaions. We had skill centres, that were open to those unemployed for 24 weeks or more. The course where excallant for the most part. City and Guilds examinations were undertaken. the downside was that each placement cost quite a lot of money. They turned out tradesmen in such areas as Radio and TV, electricians and Brick layers, plasterers etc. The old saying is that you get 'out for 'out, and I believe we should at least consider doing something similar. The new deal is a big con and a very wasteful use of limited funding. I am happy to say that our policy is I believe to scrap it. Of course if we do get rid of the new deal then we really will have to be willing to fund proper training.I believe we should lend the unemployed person the money to take part in such training and have them pay it back (slowly) once they are earning. That way we can provide better training and ensure that only the committed sign up.

were excallant unlike my spelling which is laboured at best!

Ross, great points. Yes, the New Deal is a racket used by Labour to make the unemployed disappear from the offical count. Yet, we hear nothing from the Conservative party on whether the New Deal is to be scrapped or not.

I certainly agree with you that we need a training option built into the benefits system.

Ideally there should be two pathways, the first being regular JSA with the emphasis on looking for work. The second pathway, which would apply to those struggling to find regular work should be aimed at training and re-education with JSA paid in return for attendance at a local college or place of training. However this should be training proper and not 'work experience' like the New Deal.

Those on the training pathway should have the stipulation that they be actively seeking work waived, so that they can complete the course undertaken and gain the skills needed to find permanent work.

Labour's flagship New Deal has not only been a complete and utter failure, but it has also been a con. The Labour government recently promised more money for 'training' but we all know that means more people being drafted onto the New Deal and more people disappearing from the count.

A Conservative government must scrap the New Deal and replace it with a proper training programme.

Ross, just a thought but a big statement from David Cameron stating that the New Deal is to be scrapped, because it doesn't help the unemployed, would make quite an impression at this time of rising unemployment.

I agree if we scrap new deal we have to have a better replacement ready to take up the slack. These are difficult times and I suppose we do have to be mindful of the very real suffering out there.

Efficient synthetic phonics teaching for all 4-6 year olds, abolishing the massively expensive and damaging Reading Recovery programme, bringing transparency to Ofsted, and Schools' websites, testing what children have learned, insisting that children leave primary school literate and numerate, freeing up schools to be creative; leaving computer studies until secondary school, abolishing the 3-5 tick box culture will save billions of pounds. And tracking undergraduate training courses will help to provide the professionalism that is so lacking in basic skills' literacy and numeracy teaching.
Good luck to Michael Gove - a very worth-while initiative.

Scrap SATS in primary schools - secondary schools have to re-test anyway because pupils are coached through year 6 SATS.

Make schools into partnerships with the local council and let schools raise external finance.

Keep schools small ! The single simplest factor to improve standards, no more than 80 to a year group in primaries, and no more than 140 in secondaries.

The horrific and shocking state of Britains education system is laid bare in a truely frightening article on the homepage of the British National Party. THE DECLINE OF BRITAINS EDUCATION SYSTEM. Full of references, statistics and a synopsis of demographics,

' Parliamentary questions have revealed that in 2004 452,388 primary school children could not speak English. By last year this figure had increased by 113,500, a rise of almost 25 percent. Some 3.7 legal migrants have entered this country since 1997 of which 2.5 million are from outside the European Union.'

Please please read this article. We really can't carry on like this and shocking is too finer word to describe the course this country is on. The article also gives figures for the number of times police are called to schools to sort out acts of trouble and gang warfare etc. Please, I urge you to read it.

If the Conservatives fail to really come to grips with the shocking state of the nation, take REALLY BOLD measures to sort it out, then we are done for. We just DO NOT have the time anymore to tinker at the edges and play party politics. I urge uoi to read this. Thank you.

There is a lot to enthuse about in what Michael Gove has said but, although I agree with what he says about synthetic phonics, for instance, I hope that a Conservative government will not be as prescriptive as Labour has been where the specifics are concerned.

I would like to see a College of Teachers set up to deal with teacher training, professional standards, exam standards, curriculum, extra-curricular activities etc, rather than have government or government quangos dealing with them.

The staffing of this College would be vitally important; in my view, it would obviously bring in teachers of proven ability, not only from the state but also from independent schools, the universities, college of FE and business.

Having said that, I hope that Michael Gove will heed the reservations expressed yesterday by Chris Woodhead and also that a conservative government will aim to do two things immediately: (i) to restore discipline to all clasrooms and (ii) eliminate as much red tape as possible.

It will be necessary to deal with the unions - even the NUT - and those two measures might prove a useful starting point.

While I support the measures, I am immensely disheartened at no mention of grammar schools. I fully suport grammar schools - and currently attend one - and find it atrocious that while talking in support of teaching by intelligence they go unmentioned. The tories should explicitly make it a policy aim to open more grammar schools or at the very least end their closure - they are the poor man's way out of poverty!

I am a little uneasy about the concept that a strong school will be twinned with a failing one. I think Ed Balls had this notion some time back and its manifold drawbacks struck me then.

I do not wish to write an essay on this but suffice that say that if you add a pint of sour cream to a pint of fresh cream the result is a quart of sour cream.

Well said, by the way, Thatcherite 88. That is the point, as it was for a very poor boy back in 1945 - moi.

Well done Michael!

I have difficulty with the first pledge “Underperforming schools will be taken out of local authority control”. On the face of it, at present, such schools have their best chance of recovery if they are professionally and closely supervised; logically they should be the last to be set free. Another thing entirely, if all schools are to be freed and if there should be new proprietors with the knowledge and experience to suit each case.

I also have difficulty with “the proviso that (the highest performing schools) have a partner school which is underperforming or failing”. What sort of dogma is this ? Mixed ability classes are bad but mixed ability schools are a special case ? Why should a high-performing school even choose such a spurious freedom, when by definition it has prospered under the control that might be bad for other schools ?

This summary of Michael’s policy makes no mention of the role of governors. At present they are essentially the “critical friend” to the head, often redundant as long as the relationship between Local Authority and Head is sound. They are almost entirely volunteers at present. Central government has been wrongly pushing to make them more professional, essentially so that they might be more biddable. But if we are to free the schools from government management, governors will indeed have to become more professional either because they become the proprietors or because they form the executive boards of corporate proprietors. This will be a big challenge to the typical current governor. Michael ought to pay some attention to how governors will receive his proposals; as electors, in conjunction with the parents whom some them directly represent, they outnumber the school professionals.

Michael says “The head teacher's word will be final on exclusions”. This is an area where the governors should be free to override the head, providing a genuine appeal forum and being alert to the best interests of both the main body of children and the particular miscreant. At present they might be pressed to act in the interests of their local authority, which is a different thing and hopefully a problem no longer.

Michael might be wise, at this stage, to emphasise the supposed professionalism of the teaching staff. But he should be prepared for the weaknesses that might appear as his policy takes hold. It remains that our system is producing steadily worse results in global comparison. It is very difficult even to identify bad teachers in the context of mixed-ability classes. In very many schools their reputation depends on procedural assessments and on the orderliness of their classes – only in the most general terms on what their children learn. Teachers are at present almost unsackable and their pay and conditions have improved greatly in relation (at least in the shires) to other workers. For whatever reason, poor education means bad teaching. If Michael’s reforms remove their excuses, some of our teachers will be identifiable as bad teachers. We are going to need provision for their compulsory retraining or removal.

“The base of people brought into the teaching profession will be broadened, for example using those who have been in the services”. Michael is quite unnecessarily frightening the horses with this one. Full career servicemen will usually have real instructional experience, of course. But the servicemen whom Michael is perhaps idealising in his mind are equally needed to sharpen up the police and other public services – and nowadays the pool of ex-servicemen is shrinking fast. The problem with making teachers out of other professionals is not how they might benefit from fast-track training but the extent to which schools will recruit them – if the schools are to be freed, this is not an area in which Michael should restore central dictat.

Academies are a duff policy. We in Northampton have just fought off one damaging proposed academy at Unity college ! Another proposed Academy at Weston favell school has also caused much disruption, with a gifted head moving somewhere else !

What is the Conservatives policy on the numeracy strategy in primary schools? I have three children who couldn't manage the new methods of maths calculations as in the numeracy strategy. This is the use multiplication boxes,clunking in division, number lines etc. My children found it was better to use the older "shopkeeper" method of calculations.Teachers say they use a variety of methods to teach pupils calculations but I have found they rigidly use only they numeracy strategy methods. Heather

Further to my previous email on the teaching of basic maths calculations in primary school. I have read that some secondary maths teachers have complained that pupils are coming into Year 7 (Secondary school 1st year) unable to do these basic calculations, and of having to be re-taught them. Is this being investigated? Are any other parents concerned about this issue.

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