Labour’s Policy Review, written by David Blunkett and endorsed by Tristram Hunt, is the first piece of substantial thinking on how the education system in England might look following the major changes under Michael Gove since 2010.  It aims to create some coherence from the current ‘atomised’ system, where many schools have a direct relationship with the Secretary of State through funding agreement and draws on the collaborative approach of the London Challenge.

Putting_Students_and_Parents_First

There are 40 main recommendations:

Local oversight and the spreading of best practice

1  Creation of local area independent Director of School Standards (DSS), to work across LA boundaries

2 Remit of the DSS – to facilitate intervention to drive up standards and broker intervention, as in London Challenge

3 Operational role of the DSS – to work with LAs and with new local Educational Panels

4 Public duty on LAs, schools and other providers to cooperate with the DSS in brokering collaboration

5  Community schools not currently part of a federation, multi-academy or sponsor framework should be encouraged to join a partnership, including the creation of a new Community Trust model for primaries

6  Kite-marking of educational support services – those not inspected by Ofsted

7 Creation of Education Incubation Zones, to test new practice and develop the school of the future

8 Schools free to move between partnership, federation, trust or academy chain

9 A more decentralised and appropriate model for Funding Agreements

Entitlement to high standards and fairness

10 A public duty on LAs to represent the interests of pupils and parents

11 Assess the level and use of the Pupil Premium

12 Reaffirm the need for teachers to be qualified (in publicly funded institutions)

13 New, revised independent careers advice, through Local Enterprise Partnerships

14 Clarification of the role of the Local Government Ombudsman and Office of the Schools Adjudicator, to cover all schools

15 Strengthening of the School Admissions Code

16 Strengthening  monitoring of the Schools Admissions Code

17 Strengthening of the Office of the Schools Adjudicator and Fair Access Protocols

18 Coherent and consistent appeals framework

Fiduciary duty

19 Local Authorities remain responsible for place planning

20 DSS to lead on the process for commissioning of new schools and places

21 Adjudicator to assess appeals on new school decisions

22 Open competition for new institutions

23 Same freedoms for all schools in key areas: ‘light-touch’ curriculum, school day and week, buying in services

24 Take steps to clarify the legal entity of schools

25 Greater transparency, including throughout the Freedom of Information Act and audited accounts

26 Private sector providers of educational services brought within a standard framework

The local area

27 Best practice made available to governors, including the application of Freedom of Information requirements

28 Greater support made available to governors/trustees

29 DSS responsible for ensuring that available ‘dashboards’ are being properly accessed and utilised

30 Accessible and consistent procedures for parental redress across LAs – and LAs to encourage the creation of Parent Teacher Associations

31 LAs to use their scrutiny function to monitor training providers and FE provision, with the aim of reducing NEETs

32 Urgent review into unregulated alternative provision

33 Clarification of the objective of Every Child Matters and the long term relationship between the DSS and officers of the LA

The centre

34 Inspection of Chains and Trusts

35 Inspection of wider LA education services

36 Curriculum advisory group to be established to report to the Secretary of State – to make recommendations on ‘light-touch’ curriculum

37 Clarification of the role of Ofqual – in relation to determining curriculum and syllabus content

38 Reconsideration of the decision to merge the National College for School Leadership (NCSL) and Teaching & Development Agency (TDA)

39 Revision of the role of the Office of the Schools Commissioner

40 Abolition of the role of Regional School Commissioners and greater inter-authority collaboration at regional level