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Burnham For Mayor

Monday, 9 May 2011

Lib Dems should back Labour amendments to promote fairness and high standards in schools

I am writing to Liberal Democrat MPs to encourage them to back a series of amendments to the Education Bill. 

Labour is proposing amendments to promote fairness and protect high standards in schools. The proposals go to the heart of what matters to parents – fair admissions, qualified teachers and personalised guidance.     

Liberal Democrats voted against the Government’s education reforms at their party conference last year. They now have a chance to show that following their devastating collapse in the local elections, they have listened and changed.

Like the Health Bill, the Education Bill threatens a free-for-all in our public services. It takes power off parents and pupils, leaving them without clear guarantees. Tories in Government seem to have forgotten that they did not win an outright mandate from the public for these right-wing reforms to our public services.

These simple, common-sense amendments correct real weaknesses in the Government's plans. Just as they have been forced to retreat on the NHS, so we can protect standards and promote fairness in our schools – so there is a plan for all children and all schools, not just some children and some schools.

On Wednesday, Labour will ask the House to amend the Education Bill to guarantee:

• FAIR ADMISSIONS - by reinstating local admissions forums and the powers over admissions of the Schools Adjudicator, we will support the rights of all parents to secure the best school for their child
• HIGH STANDARDS - by requiring that all publicly-funded schools employ qualified teachers, parents will have more certainty about minimum standards regardless of which type of school they choose
• QUALITY GUIDANCE - by requiring that schools enable all young people to access high quality, face-to-face careers guidance, we will help young people make the right choices in a changing and challenging world