Election 2001: Heads Give Blair a Few Lessons on How to Reform Secondary Schools

The Birmingham Post (England), May 24, 2001 | Go to article overview

Election 2001: Heads Give Blair a Few Lessons on How to Reform Secondary Schools


Byline: Dominic Hayes

Head teachers yesterday delivered a broadside to Labour's plan to reform secondary schools, saying it 'falls far short of a coherent vision' of how comprehensives should look in the 21st century.

In its formal response to the Green Paper published in February, the Secondary Heads Association warned the entire project would fail unless more teachers were found.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister affirmed his commitment to 'top-to-bottom reform', expanding the network of specialist comprehensives that win extra money to develop expertise in a field such as art or sport.

At Labour's education manifesto launch, Tony Blair said: 'We want more specialist schools. We have trebled the number already. We will raise it again to at least 1,500 within five years, as a staging post to specialist status for all schools ready for it.'

The party has promised to recruit 10,000 more teachers and 20,000 classroom assistants if it wins the election.

The association responded: 'We too have our vision, believing that the secondary schools of the future should become learning centres of the local community, creatively engaging with local people in meeting their learning needs and extending their education aspirations.

'SHA believes that, as a whole this Green Paper falls far short of a coherent vision of a secondary schools system for the 21st century.'

The Government's plans would create a 'sharper hierarchy of schools in every town', according to the SHA.

There was already evidence that the divisions between specialist and non-specialist secondaries were widening in some parts of England, said the union. …

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