Gordon Brown on school funding

29 Sep 2009

So Gordon Brown used his party conference speech to lay down a challenge on school funding.  He not only promised that a Labour government 'cannot, and will not, cut support to our schools', he also went further and  promised to 'invest more'  in schools.

This sets the bar high for the other parties and it will be interesting to see how David Cameron responds next week. 

However, it also raises int resting questions for the Schools Secretary, Ed Balls, who had promised to find £2 billion savings in schools, partly by reducing senior management posts as a result of school federations. 

I was at the Labour conference today to chair a joint ASCL/ Association of Colleges/Cambridge Assessment fringe event on 'Education for Economic Recovery'. There was broad - but not uncritical - support for the diplomas as a key way to raise skills levels and to motivate more young people to stay on in education. 

 DCSF Minister Ian Wright urged support for the diplomas as a new 'applied' form of education, saying we in Britain were 'obsessed' with labelling people as either vocational or academic. 

John Dunford, General-Secretary of ASCL, agree there was a need for a 'middle way' between the academic and the vocational, but he was concerned that the diplomas had become 'over complicated'.

However, he said the many parts of the diploma - such as Functional Skills and the Extended Project - were highly valued. He wanted these 'add-ons' to become available to other students through the introduction of a 'General Diploma'.



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