This weekend, I announced details of Labour’s School Policy Review Group, entitled ‘What do families want from good, local schools? A comprehensive approach to raising aspiration and achievement.
A group of advisers have agreed to work with the Shadow Education Team to help them explore what families want from good local schools, and specifically:
· What knowledge and skills do the next generation need to be successful in the modern world?
· How can we continue to improve standards in English, Maths and Science, but also provide a balanced curriculum which meets the needs of all children?
· What influence and control do parents want over local schools and their own child’s education?
· How can we create the most professional and highest quality teaching workforce in the world?
The group includes mums, dads, governors, teachers, head teachers, business leaders and other experts in the education sector. They will be hearing from parents, teachers, children and others through public events and visits over the next few months.
Our schools were transformed in the last decade. Standards rose year on year with some of the highest ever results at every age. And we invested in our most valuable asset – 42,000 extra teachers who Ofsted called the “best generation ever”. Under-performing schools were turned around with well over a thousand brought above the basic GCSE benchmark.
But we didn’t get everything right. I want this review to explore how we can build on this progress by considering where we went wrong, where there is further to go, and where a changing world requires new approaches.
In recent years, results for the poorest children improved faster than the rest but the challenge remains to eliminate educational inequality. And as our economy changes, we need to make sure we are equipping children with the knowledge and skills they need to get on in the modern world.
There are difficult questions to explore, such as how we get the balance right between academic and vocational study, national clarity and local autonomy, and competition and collaboration.
My fundamental test for any education policy is if it will help all children to be the best they can be and help all schools to be good schools.