Help sort out Labour’s policy on schools!

The Labour Party’s “Policy Commissions” (essentially subcommittees of the National Policy Forum) regularly hold consultations. The results have, up till now, largely been ignored, but campaigning around submissions provides an opportunity to shift debate in the party.

There is a currently a consultation on the “National Education Service”, which closes on 24 June. Teacher activists in the Labour Party in South London have produced this submission. You can make a submission here.

1. This CLP notes that the system of school governance established by successive governments since 1988 is not fit for purpose. Because of numerous top-down policy initiatives many different types of school exist; they are competitive rather than collaborative, lacking in accountability.

2. We therefore call upon the party to develop a new and radical strategy for the re-empowerment of communities, parents, and students and their teachers within the overall umbrella of a National Education Service. This requires the abolition of all types of the existing variety of school designations and their replacement by a new universal model of school governance applicable to all state schools.

3. Labour will make funds available to LAs for the establishment of Local Education Boards (LEBs) which will have a strategic overview of the local education service with a remit to create and maintain a comprehensive, progressive, democratic and inclusive system of lifelong learning. The LEBs will consist of representatives of the various stakeholders locally: elected representatives of parents and guardians, elected staff representatives, and elected representatives from the local authority (councillors). The boards will ensure:
proper allocation of places
distribution of funds according to need and nationally agreed criteria
adequate support services are available locally for schools

4. The next Labour government will:
Place all trusts, academies, free schools, and incorporated colleges on notice of intention to return to public sector control and governance.
There will be no further academy conversions or new free schools.
All funding agreements will be given notice of termination within a reasonable and negotiated timescale.
Return all assets and property of the schools back into public ownership.
Pending formal transfer LEBs will maintain and safeguard school assets.
Give all grammar schools notification of the termination of selective education within a reasonable and negotiated timescale.
Abolish immediately all tax exemptions for private schools.
Create a reformed OFSTED equivalent that commands the respect of teachers.
Abolish Regional Schools Commissioners
Create a national public examination board
Reinstate national pay and conditions for teachers and other workers within the education system.

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