Monday 1 October 2007

Blackpool hot air

So these are the Conservatives' big ideas for education, from shadow schools secretary Michael Gove? Abolishing exclusion appeal panels that are weighted in favour of the school for courts, which aren't, will increase not decrease the number of 'thugs' returned to schools. If it were so simple, don't you think that the government would have scrapped the panels already or heads' leaders wouldn't be backing their continuance. It is good to see the Tories speaking up for good comprehensives. But otherwise they differ little from Labour: the government already requires competitions for new schools and requires councils to do proper feasibility studies for new school proposals from parents and others. Extra cash already goes to schools with disadvantaged pupils (incidentally, if you tie it too closely to individual pupils, you get accused of penalising exclusion, as Labour was by the Tories when it tried a similar scheme before). There is already plenty of Blackpool hot air - if that's not too much of an oxymoron given the normal ambience of that resort - coming from the Tory conference.

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