Former Education Secretary David Blunkett has published a report calling for a more coherent way of running the different types of state-funded schools in England.
In an attempt to reform a ‘Kafkaesque’ education system, with the DfE overseeing thousands of individual schools, Labour has promised to introduce a new system of local school commissioners, the BBC reports.
The new commissioners would be responsible for raising standards, deciding on proposals for new schools and handling failing schools. Former Education Secretary David Blunkett believes this would be a more ‘coherent’ way of running the different types of state-funded schools in England, including academies and free schools.
Mr. Blunkett’s blueprint proposes local ‘Directors of School Standards’ to monitor schools and sets out a structure for how different types of state schools should be co-ordinated in local areas. The new directors could intervene in academies and free schools, which currently operate outside council education services, if there were problems with underperformance. “New local directors of school standards will monitor, support and challenge schools to improve, driving up standards in underperforming and ‘fragile’ schools – irrespective of the status of school,” Mr. Blunkett said. “This has to be an agenda of high standards and fairness for all.”
Tristram Hunt, Labour’s education spokesman, welcomed the report drawing on the lessons of the London Challenge programme, which aimed to support struggling schools and improve results in schools in the capital. “Spreading this success means an end to Michael Gove’s ‘sink or swim’ schools policy, with new and robust local oversight of all schools to root-out underperformance. That’s what directors of school standards will bring,” he said.
What do you think of David Blunkett’s plans? Would local school commissioners result in higher standards and a more coherent system?