News

city_centre_small.jpgLucy has today written to to the Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, regarding the Government’s compromised SATs tests and the chaos in primary assessment:

 

Dear Nicky,

Today’s SATs debacle is the latest in a long line of failures from the Government that have led to a total loss of confidence amongst parents, teachers and school leaders in this year’s primary school assessment. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Accidentally publishing the Key Stage 1 spelling and grammar test online, meaning the test had to be scrapped.
  • Failing to publish primary assessment resources on schedule, meaning the deadline for the assessments had to be pushed back just months before they were due to start.
  • Failing to ensure that the planned baseline assessments were sufficiently comparable, meaning they had to be scrapped.
  • Scrapping the levels assessment system in schools, with nothing to replace it. This has created significant uncertainty amongst teaching professionals and has left parents unclear as to exactly how their child is performing and what they need to do to progress, with schools simply trying to reintroduce their own made-up version of levels.
  • Over the course of this academic year, the Department for Education has published, updated or clarified 82 primary assessment documents on their website - on average at least one every other working day. This constant changing of the goalposts has added bureaucracy and workload for teachers and created confusion for parents.

Lucy's letter to Nicky Morgan regarding the Government’s compromised SATs tests and the chaos in primary assessment

Lucy has today written to to the Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, regarding the Government’s compromised SATs tests and the chaos in primary assessment:   Dear Nicky, Today’s SATs debacle is the... Read more

Hulme_bridge.jpgToday Lucy responded to a statement by the Secretary of State for Education on the u-turn on the government’s plans to force all good and outstanding primary and secondary schools to become an academy by 2022. You can read Lucy’s statement below.

 

CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY

 

Intro

Thank you Mr Speaker. 

May I thank the Secretary of State for advance notice of her statement.

It’s good to see that, despite her best efforts, this U-turn is getting the airing it deserves.

Key concession and what it means

What she announced on Friday was a significant and welcome climb down. 

However she wants to dress it up, dropping her desire to force all schools to become academies by her arbitrary deadline of 2022, is a key concession.  School leaders should take it as a very clear signal that the foot is off their throat and they shouldn’t feel they need to jump before being pushed. 

In achieving this welcome move can I thank the very broad alliance who joined us in making the arguments; the head teachers, who made their collective voice very clear last weekend, parents, governors, teachers, local government leaders, and honourable members from across the House, who have made very thoughtful and important interventions over recent weeks.

Lucy's statement in response to the government's u-turn on forced academisation

Today Lucy responded to a statement by the Secretary of State for Education on the u-turn on the government’s plans to force all good and outstanding primary and secondary schools... Read more

Hulme_bridge.jpgThe original concept of Free Schools is “all but dead” reveals Labour, as they warn that parents are increasingly being pushed out of their children’s education

  • New analysis reveals that the proportion of parent-led Free Schools that the government has approved has plummeted from over a third in 2011 to just 3 per-cent (one Free School) this year.
  • Alongside this, the Tories have snuck out new criteria for Free School applicants that actually removes the requirement for those proposing Free Schools to conduct a survey demonstrating demand from local parents.
  • This comes on top of plans announced last month in the government’s Schools White Paper to scrap the requirement for schools to have parent governors – meaning that 50,000 parent volunteers could find themselves kicked off governing bodies under the Tories.
  • Already this year, the Tories have scrapped the requirement for potential academy sponsors to have to consult with parents and the local community before taking over a school.

Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Education Lucy Powell MP said:

“It’s increasingly clear that the government’s original concept of a Free School is all but dead. The Tories have all but abandoned the concept of parent-led schools, and are instead overseeing a huge expansion of academy chains opening new schools. These findings will come as a surprise to parents and many in the Conservative Party, who are still being sold an untruth about the expansion of the Free Schools programme.

“It is completely disingenuous of government to suggest that parents are at the centre of the schools system. All the evidence shows they are relegating parents’ voices.

“Ministers are misleading parents and devaluing their contribution to their children’s education, increasingly pushing them out of decisions affecting their schools. Alongside plans to force already good and outstanding primary and secondary schools to become academies, against the wishes of parents and head teachers, the Tories want to scrap the requirement for parent governors. Parents have already been gagged by the government, when it comes to deciding on new academy sponsors for struggling schools. 

“Rather than see parents as the enemy when it comes to school improvement and relegating their voice, Labour would put parents and local communities at the heart of the school system, encouraging them to take an active role in their children’s education to help improve standards and help every child achieve their potential.”

The original concept of Free Schools is all but dead

The original concept of Free Schools is “all but dead” reveals Labour, as they warn that parents are increasingly being pushed out of their children’s education New analysis reveals that...

city_centre_small.jpgLucy Powell MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Education, commenting on news that a SATs spelling test due to be taken by half a million seven year olds in England next month has been published accidentally on the Departments for Education’s website:

“The incompetence of Ministers at the Department for Education is breathtaking. They have created chaos in the assessment system, and to publish upcoming test papers online, before children have had a chance to sit them, renders the whole process null and void. It is an insult to the pupils and teachers who have been working hard to prepare for them.”

The incompetence of Ministers at the Department for Education is breathtaking

Lucy Powell MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Education, commenting on news that a SATs spelling test due to be taken by half a million seven year olds in...

Hulme_bridge.jpgLucy Powell MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Education, commenting on reports that the Education Secretary Nicky Morgan is preparing to allow local authorities to set up their own academy chains, said:

“It’s clear the Tory Government doesn’t have any support whatsoever for these plans. Head teachers, parents and now an increasing number of Conservative MPs see that it’s a costly, unnecessary exercise with no evidence that standards will improve. If Nicky Morgan thinks that allowing good local authorities to form academy chains will allay fears then she clearly hasn’t been listening very carefully.

“The Education Secretary needs to make clear whether she will be asking for powers to force all good and outstanding schools to become academies against their wishes as part of the Queen’s Speech. Parents, schools leaders and others deserve clarity on this key issue. The Government’s woeful handling of this to date has already caused huge upheaval and concern.”

Comment on reports that the Education Secretary Nicky Morgan is preparing to allow local authorities to set up their own academy chains

Lucy Powell MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Education, commenting on reports that the Education Secretary Nicky Morgan is preparing to allow local authorities to set up their own...

city_centre_small.jpgIn The Mirror Lucy Powell gave a statement on primary schools being at 'bursting point'.

The shake-up “is a costly, top-down reorganisation of the schools system that schools don’t need and parents don’t want”.

“Ministers have already tied the hands of local areas to adequately plan for school places.

“The Tories’ new forced academisation policy will make the school places system implode, as councils lose completely the levers they have to ensure there are enough school places for children.”

 

Primary schools at bursting point with almost a quarter completely full - and it's getting worse

In The Mirror Lucy Powell gave a statement on primary schools being at 'bursting point'. The shake-up “is a costly, top-down reorganisation of the schools system that schools don’t need and...

Hulme_bridge.jpgIn an article in The Guardian Lucy Powell said:

 

“The number of pupils is rising, yet at the same time as the increase in demand, the government has tied the hands of councils and local areas and made it harder for them to properly plan for school places. Their policy to force all schools to become academies will make this even worse,” she said.

“A fair school places system requires proper planning and coordination. Ministers must reverse their decision to cut out local communities from place planning, whilst removing the bureaucracy that councils face when it comes to opening and expanding schools.”

Thousands miss out on first-choice primary school

In an article in The Guardian Lucy Powell said:   “The number of pupils is rising, yet at the same time as the increase in demand, the government has tied the...

On national offer day (18th April) when parents find out which primary school their child will be attending in September, new analysis published by the Labour Party reveals the strain on the system caused by the Government’s failed approach to planning for school places:

·         New figures reveal that one in four primary schools is now full or over capacity – and this figure is rising. At the same time, forecasts show there will be 295,000 more primary-age pupils in the system by 2020.

·         New analysis also shows there are now almost 100 ‘titan’ primary schools with more than 800 pupils – up from just 16 five years ago.

·         Councils can’t direct academies to expand to take more pupils. With the Tories’ plan to force every school to become an academy, the already broken system for school places will implode.

Lucy Powell MP, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, said:

“This Government’s broken school places system means that children are being crammed into ever larger class sizes and many schools are already at or over capacity. On the day that parents will find out if their child has a place at their school of choice, it is increasingly clear that the Government has no answer to the crisis in school places they have created. Indeed, their plan to force every primary and secondary school to become an academy is a costly, top-down reorganisation of the schools system that schools don’t need and parents don’t want.

“Ministers have already tied the hands of local areas to adequately plan for school places. The Tories’ new forced academisation policy will make the school places system implode, as councils lose completely the levers they have to ensure there are enough school places for children.”  

One in four primary schools now full or over capacity, with 295,000 more primary pupils set to enter schools by 2020

On national offer day (18th April) when parents find out which primary school their child will be attending in September, new analysis published by the Labour Party reveals the strain on...

Lucy has written for The Times Redbox blog on the opposition day debate yesterday on forced academisation and the cross-party consensus with Conservative backbenchers against these plans. 

Blog: The Education Secretary’s plans to force all schools to become academies has hit a brick wall

Lucy has written for The Times Redbox blog on the opposition day debate yesterday on forced academisation and the cross-party consensus with Conservative backbenchers against these plans.  Read more

Hulme_bridge.jpgCHECK AGAINST DELIVERY

 

Thank you Mr Speaker/Mr Deputy Speaker.

 

I am pleased that we’ve been able to secure this debate following the Government’s School’s White Paper, which has caused much concern amongst parents, communities, heads, teachers and others.

 

The main, and most controversial, proposal is to force all schools to become academies and the vast majority into multi-academy trusts or chains by 2022.

 

It is this proposal which we have focussed today’s debate on because we believe these plans are deeply flawed, are not supported by evidence, have caused huge disruption in schools already, and notably seem to have very few supporters. There is a growing alliance of those with concerns – including members opposite, local government leaders, as well as leading head teacher unions like the NAHT and ASCL.

 

It is my intention that today’s debate be used as an opportunity to air such concerns and I hope that the Secretary of State will listen carefully, not plough on regardless, but put these plans on hold.

 

There are elements of the White Paper that we can support – like the Independent College of Teaching. However, the main thrust of forced, wholesale academisation we cannot support.

 

Overview - Forced Academisation

 

The Government’s plan has been met with such concern, even by the very school leaders they claim to be supporting, because it is a bad policy, with no evidence base.

 

It is yet another policy from this Government that obsesses with structures, instead of standards.

 

What’s more, given the very real pressures being faced by schools today – huge teacher shortages, real terms cuts to school budgets for the first time in 20 years, major overhauls to curriculums, assessments and exams – the idea that heads should be spending time, money, and energy on a £1.3 billion top-down reorganisation of our schools system is at best a distraction, and at worst will have a very damaging impact on standards.

 

The Tories’ obsession with school structures has completely missed the point. Just as there are some excellent academies, there are some excellent community schools, there are some poor academies and some poor community schools.

Lucy's Opposition Day debate speech on academisation

CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY   Thank you Mr Speaker/Mr Deputy Speaker.   I am pleased that we’ve been able to secure this debate following the Government’s School’s White Paper, which has... Read more

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