Labour subtly changes position on Free Schools too


3:27 pm - June 3rd 2013

by Sunny Hundal    


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One point that will be missed from Ed Balls’s speech today will be about Free Schools.

The shadow education secretary Stepehn Twigg is constantly criticised for being ineffectual in facing up to Michael Gove.

The party was initially opposed to Free Schools, but Twigg later changed that to a policy that amounted to: ‘we won’t oppose Free Schools if parents want them’.

But Ed Balls sharply curtailed that position today, saying:

With primary school places in short supply in many parts of the country, and parents struggling to get their children into a local school, can it really be a priority to open more free schools in 2015 and 2016 in areas with excess secondary school places?

In other words, the position on Free Schools has been subtly changed from ‘we won’t oppose them‘ to ‘we probably won’t have money to fund many more‘.

I asked a Labour source about this today.

I was told that Stephen Twigg would be making an announcement or speech on this in the near future.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


1. gastro george

Why did my heart sink when I read the words “Stephen Twigg would be making an announcement or speech”?

2. Shatterface

The shadow education secretary Stepehn Twigg is constantly criticised for being ineffectual in facing up to Michael Gove.

Its like watching rice pudding wrestle a blancmange.

Wow that’s really forceful language. The sort of thing you might say if worried about the possibility of people remembering what you said after an election. No signed pledges to be made here.

4. Charlieman

Ed Balls: “With primary school places in short supply in many parts of the country, and parents struggling to get their children into a local school, can it really be a priority to open more free schools in 2015 and 2016 in areas with excess secondary school places?”

Did Ed Balls really begin a sentence about shortage of primary school places and end with reference to “excess” secondary school places? I didn’t make it up and I guess that Sunny was copy and pasting from a press release. So it is probably true.

If we take the latter half of the sentence, it’s about competition between Free Schools and other secondary schools. Ed Balls tells us that some secondary schools have unfilled places (“excess” usually means something else). The reason that there are unfilled places is that children/parents do not wish to attend those schools. Free School and secondary school policy should be based on providing education opportunities, not cramming kids into vacant slots.

Looking at the point about primary (and earlier) education, I reckon that managerialism played a part. Authorities use data such as the national census to allocate health care and education services, but that data becomes useless when local demographics change rapidly. The managerial system defines bounds for expected demand and sets rules to respond to demand; others create flexible systems that use human intelligence to respond to changing circumstances.

Yes but in a few weeks time when MIliband finds out about this, he may well think should I get off the band wagon or get on, hold on get me the Daily Mail.

Could someone please direct me to ainformation regarding where Labour MP’s send their children to school? Types of school info rather than addresses – I’m not into wearing a raincoat and garters by the school gates. Rather I’d like to know how many go to regular state schools rather than pick and mix the elite schools in the state sector and those who chose to go private.

Whilst I think Dianne Abbot is a silly so and so about most things she decides to support I respect her for choosing her son’s education prospects above party political concerns.

Thank you.

Kojak


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