Gransnet forums

News & politics

Labour Policy on Education

(69 Posts)
Ilovecheese Tue 25-Sep-18 15:50:59

As there is a thread on the Labour Party Conference in general terms, I wonder if anyone would like to discuss their ideas on education policy.

I think that stopping any more free schools from being set up is a good idea, as is not forcing schools to become academies if the school and the parents do not want this, is also a good idea.

An article from a Liberal Democrat in the Guardian thinks that these policies do not go far enough, but I am not sure there is an appetite for a for wholesale reorganisation in education.

Any thoughts?

lemongrove Tue 25-Sep-18 15:56:07

I think you are right that ‘I am not sure there is an appetite
For a wholesale reorganisation in education’.
They want schools to be under local education authority control ( in fact, they would like all to be run by the state really) as this is what fits with their agenda.
Never mind that many schools have blossomed as free schools!

Joelsnan Tue 25-Sep-18 16:05:28

Education should be returned to Local Authority control, bringing free schools and academies under the same control and inspection as all other schools. There should be no segregated schools based on religion.
I think Labour is failing to address the educational needs of the non-academic children when they state they want to abolish selection. Currently as a result of this policy the more vocational children (which are probably the majority) are being sidelined in the push for academic results. You cannot clump all children together.
Free Further Education is a good idea, but like most of Labours utopian ideas (which sound wonderful), i want to know actual funding streams and timescales. It just sounds too good to be true.

Ilovecheese Tue 25-Sep-18 16:20:46

I think selection is only of real use when children are a lot older than 11. We know so much more now about brain development than we used to.

I agree that there needs to be more training for non academic children, but I think that this should be in what I would call 21st Century subjects, more art and design based, including engineering,than going back to traditional trades.
I also agree that there should be no segregated schools based on religion, which many of the free schools are.

Lemongrove Schools are under much more direct state control now, than they were when run by Local Authorities. if parents are not in agreement with how an academy is run, their only avenue now is to go the the Department for Education. I'm also not sure that the fact that some free schools have been successful has justified the amount of money that has been spent on them.

gillybob Tue 25-Sep-18 17:39:39

And where can a parent go when they disagree with the LEA ?

Anniebach Tue 25-Sep-18 17:40:58

I am against abolishing religious schools, this stamps of abolishing religion or back to the usual cry ‘faith should be in the home and in the church’ we have an excellent Church in Wales school here, why abolish it? To what purpose? We use to have a convent school, fee paying boarding school children of all faiths snd no faiths plus RC children from the RC junior school who didn’t pay.

Why not abolish all private schools? Have all schools run by the state

Ilovecheese Tue 25-Sep-18 18:03:37

gillybob I was just addressing the suggestion made by lemongrove that the Labour Party "would like all to be run by the state really" by pointing out that is is closer to being run by the state now under the Conservatives.

anniebach the suggestion of abolishing faith schools was made by a Liberal Democrat, and in fact I agree with her. I don't see how we can hope to live in harmony together if children are segregated. If a school is excellent it should continue to be excellent whether or not it is a faith school.
And yes, I also believe that 'faith should be in the home and in the church’. The fact that it is in your words "the usual cry" does not make it a less valid opinion.

Anniebach Tue 25-Sep-18 18:09:50

Ilovecheese, i accept it’s your opinion. My experience of an Anglican school goes back many years. Our local history group did a study of Anglican school in this area, so many small villages and it was the church which brought education to the children , I doubt children who Attended Anglican schools were damaged or were segregated in any way

Ilovecheese Tue 25-Sep-18 18:13:32

I doubt they were as well Anniebach, but our society has changed a lot over the years. We are now a very multi cultural society with many more diverse religions than we used to have, and I like to see the children of different faiths being educated together, so that they will form bonds with others of different faiths at an early age..

M0nica Tue 25-Sep-18 19:24:57

children are not segregated in religious schools, except, possibly in Northern Ireland. I had a peripatetic education and went to 6 catholic school (plus 5 others)s. A couple of the parochial schools, may have been close to RC only, but the other 4 all had a substantial proportion if children, usually 30 to 50% from other denominations. In the school Istayed at longest, it was the only independent school that accepted girls of Jewish and other faiths.

The biggest problem of segregation exists in the state sector where the catchment areas of some schools means that the majority of students, all but a handful are Muslim. What would those who oppose religious schools do about that? Bus children in and out?

trisher Tue 25-Sep-18 19:26:02

Academies and Free schools need to be more restricted and regulated. They range from the excellent to the absolutely appalling. The one thing they have done is remove funding from LEA schools. Is it acceptable that one school in an area should receive more money than a nearby school because it is designated an Academy? As for church schools they are probably less devisive now than they have been in the past but they certainly do not promote cohesion in society. If they were abolished would children benefit? Yes undoubtedly, so would society. Nothing can eliminate the differences and alleviate the fear of people who are different to yourself as well as sitting in a classroom, learning alongside them and playing in the school yard with them.

Ilovecheese Tue 25-Sep-18 20:05:37

"The biggest problem of segregation exists in the state sector where the catchment areas of some schools means that the majority of students, all but a handful are Muslim. What would those who oppose religious schools do about that? Bus children in and out?"

That doesn't just affect Local Authority schools though, the same happens with academies.
And I don't really see what it has to do with faith schools.

Anniebach Tue 25-Sep-18 20:13:21

So this once Christian country should now only speak in the home or the church, good church schools should be closed down because there are more non christians than Christians

Joelsnan Tue 25-Sep-18 20:53:45

I dont think its a case of there being more non christians than christians, its the fact that we now have so many free schools teaching different faiths and ideologies and because they generally teach their faiths in exclusivity this potentially causes division rather than integration as the children rarely get to mix. Remember the 'Trojan horse' issue. Has this issue truly been resolved or has the media just gone quiet? I do know the head of Ofsted has issues with some faith free schools.

lemongrove Tue 25-Sep-18 21:01:45

The elephant in the room around faith schools is in not discussing Muslim ones.They have been difficult to check up on and when problems are found/exposed they have not been addressed.Serious failings and segregating boys and girls.
No such problems exist in Christian faith schools, which are usually of an excellent standard and parents fight for places.

Anniebach Tue 25-Sep-18 21:10:42

Joel I understand but lemon has said what has been avoided on this thread, why should church schools be closed because of fears of Muslim schools . There has never been fears of Jewish schools, sadly they are now suffering racist attacks, but there has never been worries about them.

Joelsnan Tue 25-Sep-18 21:43:11

Maybe those educated in Northern Ireland may think differently. I have a good friend who whilst at school in NI formed a friendship with a girl from the other faith, they remain friends today but tell of the lies, secerecy and fear they endured maintaining this friendship. Had they not both had SEN which meant they went to a mixed religion school they would never have met, religion would have prevented it.

Anniebach Tue 25-Sep-18 22:21:24

Joel, it wasn’t just the schools, there were Catholic and Protestant areas , N.I. Is not an example for closing faith schools

MaizieD Tue 25-Sep-18 23:08:59

These are the Labour proposals, according to their press release at the weekend:

1. Councils will be able to open schools
2. No more forced academisation
3. Councils can take back failing academies
4. A new generation of “co-operative schools”
5. Related-party transactions banned
6. National pay rules and a cap on CEO salaries
7. Councils will take charge of admissions
8. Academies will be compelled to expand
9. A new regulatory framework for schools

I don't see anything in there about banning Faith schools. Was that added to Rayner's speech?

I absolutely agree with the first item. Local authorities need to plan for demographic change and have the expertise for setting up new schools or expanding existing schools. Free Schools were never going to be a substitute. In many cases they either ended up with surplus places or took places from already established local schools. Nor were they as easy to set up properly as was fondly imagined. The prime mover of the idea, Toby Young, had to stand back from the school he helped to set up and admitted that it was far more difficult than he'd thought it was going to be.
In addition, Free Schools have been instrumental in setting up faith schools, a move particularly criticised when the 'faith' promoted the marginalisation of girls' education.

It also seems that after the initial enthusiasm very few Free Schools were actually set up by parents and teachers (as originally envisaged) but by Academy Trusts extending their empires.. Some Trusts are very good, but not all of them...

Forced academisation of 'failing schools' in no way guaranteed that the schools was going to be any more successful when freed from LA oversight.

There was equally no sound educational principle behind not allowing LA to take back failing academies.

I know nothing about co-operative schools, though they sound like a better proposition than Free Schools.

No problem with national pay scales. It worked fine before. Some academy CEOs managed to wangle themselves some ridiculously high salaries. And some dealt with a startling number of businesses run by relatives of CEOs...

The next two seem unobjectionable as LAs have to plan for fluctuation in populations; not easy if schools are independent of them.

Not sure about the next two.

Having said all that, I'm not altogether sure about total LA control. In the short time that I worked in schools I've seen a number of LA approved but unresearched (or frankly dotty) 'initiatives 'suggested' to schools in such a way as being hard to resist. Though Ofsted has to share some of the blame.

I'd have liked to have seen the abolition of Grammar Schools and the removal of charitable status from private schools. I don't see the Labour proposals as being particularly radical.

MaizieD Tue 25-Sep-18 23:12:04

And I think that schools should be secular and teach humanist values. Religious teaching should be confined to the home and place of worship. But children should learn about all the major religions.

gillybob Wed 26-Sep-18 07:51:55

Our LEA already control the admissions of every school in our borough except one which happens to be the only one doing well MazieD the LEA make a rubbish job as it stands forcing children to travel miles away to school when there are several perfectly good ones on their door step. Appeals are a waste of time. They are a law unto themselves .

gillybob Wed 26-Sep-18 08:00:40

Meant to add we are a (forever) labour controlled council.

Anniebach Wed 26-Sep-18 08:54:17

In my opinion wanting to restrict religion to the home and the church/mosque/ synagogue and forcing the humanism belief on people is taking away peoples rights and handing more control to the state, this happened in Russia,

Anniebach Wed 26-Sep-18 09:14:44

Banning Jewish schools is certaintly one way to encourage Jews to leave this country.

MaizieD Wed 26-Sep-18 09:15:04

OK, Annie. Humanism isn't a religion so I thought itvwould be nicely neutral and teach values such equality, respect for individuals and diversity, consideration for fellow humans etc. But let's not bother, then. Let's just leave any attempt to teach anything that looks like moral values, in a neutral way, off the curriculum altogether.

But let's not condone indoctrination of children into archaic and divisive ways if thinking which are justified by an unchallengeable 'authority' which can only be interpreted to its followers and in whose name the most appalling atrocities have been committed over hundreds of years, and still continue to be committed.