Liberal Democrat David Laws has called for schools to be protected from the “whims of here-today, gone-tomorrow politicians”, leading to a better education system.
The Schools Minister has warned of the “corrosive impact” of self-interested political meddling in schools and claimed that parents and teachers would have much greater confidence in an education system with less “political interference”.
Mr Laws recognised that there is an important role for politicians in setting the overall strategy and financing of the school system, but the detail should be left to subject specialists. “Ministers float in and out of the department, often for quite short periods of time,” he said.
In what will be interpreted as a thinly veiled criticism of former Education Secretary Michael Gove, he claimed: “We’ve had in this Parliament parts of the English and history curriculum decided…on the whim of here-today, gone-tomorrow politicians down to the level of what works of English Literature should be taught.”
The BBC reports that Mr Laws wants an independent body to set the curriculum content and measure whether standards in schools are really improving or declining. The Education Standards Authority would “put subject experts in the driving seat rather than politicians”, prevent short-term political changes in the curriculum and provide an objective measure on standards to stop politicians “marking their own homework”.
However, Shadow Secretary of State for Education Tristram Hunt said: “The Liberal Democrats are entirely complicit in delivering this Government’s damaging schools policy. Nick Clegg’s party record shows that the Liberal Democrats cannot be trusted with raising standards in our schools.”
Do you think David Laws is right to attack political meddling in schools, and is an Education Standards Authority the solution?