Labour launches education policy review

12 Mar 2011

From the ASCL conference in Manchester:

The Shadow Schools Secretary, Andy Burnham, says he wants to 'dust down' the Tomlinson proposals for 14 - 19 education as part of the Labour Party's fundamental schools policy review, which he formally launched in a speech at the ASCL annual conference. 

He told head teachers that the last Labour government did 'miss something' with its failure to implement in full Sir Mike Tomlinson's recommendations for an over-arching qualification to cover both academic and vocational courses. 'We must have a broad ad balanced curriculum', he said.

He also said the policy review would have to consider what to do about the new-style converted academies and Free Schools being promoted by the coalition government.

 He promised that he 'would not seek to close successful Free schools or to reverse academy status but - instead - local areas should judge whether they are serving the wider interest'.

 He said a future Labour government's approach to Free Schools and converted academies  would be based 'not just on the results of individual schools but on the effect on results across a family of schools in the area'.

 A further question for the Labour Party's policy review, he said, would be how to ensure that all students reach adulthood with a 'decent proficiency in maths and English'. He said he wanted a debate to see if it is possible 'to have the ambition for all students to leave with at least a grade C in GCSE maths and English'.

Assessing the last Labour government's record, Mr Burnham said he had heard and understood the message that 'micro-management went too far'.

He also wanted the policy review to look at the question: 'how do we unlock the power of partnership and collaboration to raise standards?'

He promised that Labour would 'not fall into the trap of believing that structural change leads automatically to better results' and admitted that at times Labour had focused 'too much on structural change'.





User Comments

Iftikhar Ahmad - 12 Mar 2011

Education of Bilingual Muslim Children

A good school is not just a knowledge factory or a conveyor belt for churning out exam passes - it is a community, a family. A community is held together by common values and principles.

It is a common saying that British schooling is upholding British values of integration, respect, tolerance and equality. But all minority groups find British schooling is the home of institutional racism and British teachers are chicken racist. This is one of the manny reason why they would like to see their children attending their own schools with their own teachers.Sikh and Hindu communities have set up their own schools. Now Black community is thinking of setting up schools with their own teachers.

Muslim families are as entitled as any other religious group to schools that nurture their children's faith. Muslim pupils should be educated in Muslim schools because the current system is marginalising them. Teaching Muslim children in a Muslim school would remove the "problem of them being exposed" to values that conflict with Islamic faith. Muslim pupils are disadvantaged and marginalised in the city's state schools because the cultural heritage of the curriculum is "European and Christian".

Muslim schools provide an education in accordance with the Muslim beliefs and values, such as providing single-sex schooling after puberty. They are thus a response to the danger of absorption into the dominant culture.

There is already a divided education system in all inner cities because of the demographics of the population. This has been the situation for 15 to 20 years. If this was so important why has nothing been done before?

A growing number of British-born Muslims and especially Pakistanis are suffering from psychological problems and apathy and are either turning to crime or radical Islam. Majority of British Muslims are from Pakistan.

A growing number of young Pakistanis feel they are ‘second class citizens and will remain so.They are addressed as outsiders – as ‘immigrant, Paki or Muslim’ and increasingly shut out or discriminated against.The hardening of attitudes towards Muslims in British society is also having an effect.

I have been campaigning for state funded Muslim schols for the last 35 years because British schooling is the home of
institutional racism and British teachers are chicken racists. British teachers are not role models for Muslim children during their developmental periods.

I set up the first Muslim school in London in 1981 and now there are about 166 Muslim schools and only 11 are state funded. I would like to see each and every Muslim child in a state funded Muslim school with bilingual Muslim teachers as role model. There is no place for a non-Muslim child or a teacher in a Muslim school.

Western media and politicians have been trying their best to propogate against Muslim schools. Muslim schools are even called Osma bin Laden Academies by a Teaching Union. Only less than 5% of Muslim children attend Muslim
schools while more than 95% are in state schools to be mis-educated and de-educated by non-Muslim monolingual teachers.

The demand for state funded Muslim schools is in accordance with the law of the land. Muslim community is not asking for any favour. Muslim community
pays all sorts of taxes and is less burden on social services.

Church leaders say it is no longer "appropriate" for them to run Sacred Heart RC Primary School which has just six Christian pupils. The school in Blackburn, Lancs, could be handed to the nearby Masjid-e-Tauheedul mosque.

Harry Devonport of Blackburn with Darwen Council Children's Services, said the decision to abandon the school was made by the Diocese of Salford. Diocese education director Geraldine Bradbury said: "We have never experienced a change to this extent before. We would not be serving the local community by insisting that we run the school. It brings things like having a Catholic headteacher and devoting 10% of the timetable to RE.
"It would be wrong of us to insist on putting a school community through that."

There are hundreds of state and church schools where Muslim children are in majority. In my opinion, all such schools may be opted out as Muslim Academies. Bilingual Muslim children need bilingual Muslim teachers as role
models during their developmental periods. There is no place for a non-Muslim child or a teacher in a Muslim school.

A Muslim is a citizen of this tiny global village. He/she does not want to become notoriously monolingual Brit.

Bilingual Muslim children must learn and be well versed in standard English to follow the National Curriculum and go for higher studies and reearch to serve humanity. At the same time they must learn and be well versed in Arabic, Urdu and other community languages to keep in touch with their cultuiral roots and enjoy the beauty of their literature and poetry.

Robert Crosby - 04 Jun 2011

Academies and Free Schools

The Tories' proposals (supported by the Liberal Democrats) simply represent the reintroduction of "opting out", as practised in the 80s. This government is attempting to do the same to schools as it is to the NHS (i.e. opening them up to privateers and the free market) - so Labour SHOULD be opposing the policy and doing so vehemently.

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