Labour’s new “vows” on Education

Labour vows to rub out Michael Gove’s education reforms

Such delicious words in this context. “Vows”. “Rub out”.

Gove boardEven the Telegraph uses words like “dismantle” (of Gove’s reforms) without any accompanying criticism of Labour’s policy proposal.

Guardian-reading teachers up and down the land will have gone to work with a spring in their step yesterday. And why not? After so many years of “reforms” – of teacher bashing and central diktat, why wouldn’t teachers be delighted to read this Guardian report on Labour’s radical new thoughts on the governance of education? No ifs and buts – this is good news.

Plan to introduce network of local school commissioners aims to roll back ‘unmanageable Kafkaesque caricature’

Labour has vowed to wipe the slate clean of Michael Gove’s “Kafkaesque” education system in which Whitehall oversees thousands of atomised schools, and is promising to introduce a new system of local school commissioners.

The vexed question of political and community oversight of education and schools is finally being tackled by the Labour party. Given the weaknesses of many local authorities in terms of their management and direction of education it makes no sense to go back to the old system of LA control of schools and education. It makes a lot of sense to put forward a proposal that LAs will be responsible for appointing highly capable education professionals to have oversight and to be accountable in given geographical areas for fixed contractual periods.

“. . . commissioners to be responsible for raising standards, for handling failing schools and for deciding on proposals for new schools.”

“The scheme brings a renewed focus on improvements to school standards through collaboration and co-operation between schools, rather than keeping a system of competition that failed schools unnoticed and left to rot.”

“Blunkett’s proposal accepted by Hunt, is that a director of school standards, responsible for driving achievements, is established. It is expected there would be 40 to 80 directors located in cities and within groups of local authorities.”

It’s well past time that schools themselves are left to decide matters of pedagogy, curriculum, learning and teaching.

Putting students and parents first

We welcome David Blunkett’s comments about Labour’s policy on education – “entirely on delivering inspiration teaching and aspirational learning”. We would, however, add a caveat that he has referred to within the recommendations in “Putting Students and Parents First” relating to Every Child Matters (Executive Summary: 33) – that the wellbeing of young people is integral to their propensity for learning and achieving.

The role of any new post of Director of School Standards should be mindful of the holistic nature of education  – that “standards” are not sustainable if other vital components of wellbeing are simultaneously ignored.

About 3D Eye

Gary Foskett and Clare Blackhall are educationalists, writers and consultants. We work with schools and other organisations who share our vision of how schools, businesses, etc should work in the 21st Century. We also run courses and contribute to conferences - speaking about our three dimensional model of intelligences and how schools, colleges and universities can develop the full potential of all their staff and students. We also offer consultancy for businesses and public sector organisations to support staff training and organisational change and development. For more detailed information read our blog at or see our website at
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