Changes to our public services are happening at a rapid pace under the new government. Coalition plans could mean the beginning of the end of the UK state education system as we have known it with the fracturing of a national system of locally administered schools, free for all, but managed in the interests of all.
We believe in good local all ability schools that exist within a system of fair admissions and fair funding. We don’t think better off parents should be given a larger slice of the educational cake. We don’t believe new schools should be built if they are not needed and we are opposed to schools being allowed to devise ways of attracting the more able or well off students, and shutting out those they don’t want to teach..
We believe every local school can be excellent and a place where all students can reach their potential and achieve the highest standards. However there are groups, especially those from families with low incomes, who do not always achieve what they should. The key challenge we face in education is to enable all children to succeed, whatever their background. Those schools that focus on the elite - both grammar schools and the independent sector - offer no solution here.
We are committed to building on the successes of the comprehensive movement, learning from the work of great teachers and students in thousands of flourishing local schools while supporting those that are in challenging circumstances and working hard to improve.
We recognise that in some parts of the country, many local comprehensive schools are now academies - independent state schools which are funded directly from Whitehall and subject to different legal requirements.
We regret that successive governments have chosen to create a "two -tier" system because this can make local collaboration, fair funding and balanced intakes more difficult. We are also opposed to the way the way that the present coalition government is imposing a “one size fits all” solution on many maintained schools (via its forced academy programme) and misrepresenting the evidence about the success of non academy schools.
Fair admissions and fair funding need strong local accountability so that all schools can be self governing but also obliged to play by the same rules. So we will be campaigning for locally accountable public bodies, not to run schools, but to act in the interests of all , with responsibility for planning places , making sure that all schools (whether academies or not ) manage admissions fairly and receive the support and funding they need.