Thursday, November 01, 2007

Brown Reheats Failed Schools Announcement

Gordon Brown's speech yesterday on closing failing schools was yet another example of his lack of vision. This wasn't a new policy - as is so often the case nowadays, it was a reheated one. It was actually announced in the Queen's Speech in 2005, more than two years ago. Indeed, it was first trailed in the Independent in THIS article on February 8 2005.

UPDATE: It seems I was far too kind on our visionary PM. It seems there were many earlier examples of this same policy announcement...

In 1995, David Blunkett, Labour’s education spokesman, said: 'A school identified as failing would be closed and a new school would be reopened on the same site for a new school year. The new school, with a new governing body, new teachers and a new head teacher, would be able to offer pupils a fresh chance for success.’ (The Times, 12 April 1995).

The Labour manifesto in 1997 stated: ‘All Local Education Authorities (LEAs) must demonstrate that every school is improving. For those failing schools unable to improve, ministers will order a 'fresh start' - close the school and start afresh on the same site.’

In 1998 it was announced ‘Schools are to be given a maximum of two years to turn around poor performance under proposals announced by the UK Government. Those which fail to improve sufficiently face closure. They would then either re-open under a new headteacher and governors or remain shut for good, with their pupils transferred to better performing schools’ Education Secretary David Blunkett said: ‘Persistent delay in improvement damages the life chances of the youngsters involved…The new procedures will provide both clarity and certainty for schools whilst making clear that we cannot tolerate consistent failure’ (BBC News online, 2 June 1998).

In 2000, Education Secretary Estelle Morris said: ‘The Government’s approach to tackling failing schools is clearly working for most schools… It is crucial that local education authorities take tough decisions on failing schools.’ (DFEE Press Release, 1 December 2000).

In March 2000, the Government announced ‘in future, where schools over three consecutive years failed to get 5 good GCSE passes for at least 15 per cent of their pupils, they would be considered for a Fresh Start.’ David Blunkett added: ‘Our Fresh Start policy - the closure of a school and the replacement with a new school - is already being used by LEAs to tackle failing schools and is beginning to have an impact.’ (DFEE Press Release 15 March 2000).


Anonymous said...

This shows just how visionary GB was two years ago.

Of course it doesn't explain why the govt have been so poor at implementing their vision, or why they had to postpone the election so they could spend another two years explaining what their vision is!

Anonymous said...

Peter Riddell notes in the Times that it's a rehash of the Blunkett themes from 1997-2001, so even earlier.

Although he can't bring himself to be quite so critical of Brown, claiming the chap still has a vision.........

bergen said...

And his visions are irrelevant to his own constituents who must ask Mr Salmond instead.Pure farce.

Manfarang said...


Hey what's all this about downgrading Christmas (Institute of Public Policy)?

Travis Bickle said...

Annoymous 3:29

Quite. So as he showed us all his vision two years ago what was the real reason for bottling the election?

Shame he never had a vision of what the gold price would be today given the bargain basement sale he conducted 10 years ago.

Anonymous said...

This is a different policy Iain, you should read the article and the speech again.

The article says that it wants to give parents more choice over the schools they choose and the bad ones face closure. The speech said it will give local authorities the power to close schools if their results are not up to a certain standard.

I know you love accusing him of reheating policies but this is tenuous at best. Nice try though.

Gary elsby stoke said...

Iain, you are right that it was labour's intention to close schools that underperformed some time ago.

Just to ley you know, evry secondary school in Stoke-on-Trent is being closed down by him.

Gordon: Man of his word.


verity said...

So, in effect, Gordon Brown has not introduced one new policy since he slithered under the door of No 10.

Not that we want any new policies from the socialists.

But it's interesting that Brown hasn't had a single new idea since then that he has had the confidence to announce.

I honestly cannot see him lasting until the next election. He's sulky and weak.

Travis Bickle said...

"Hey what's all this about downgrading Christmas (Institute of Public Policy)?"

The lunatic author of the report (Mr Muir), clearly another little snot who has never experienced having to work in the real world, made a right nonce of himself on Sky News, lots of guff about defining "Britishness" and a theory that removing Christmas and making us all honour ramadin will take away support from likes of BNP. I blame Maggie for removing Care in the Community.

Daily Referendum said...

It's like fishing. If you find a bait that works, keep throwing it to the fish. However this fish stopped biting a while ago.

verity said...

Travis Bickle - Well, at least he has done some good. He will have driven tens of thousands to join the BNP. We need Labour support to keep on hemhorraging like this and we thank the silly Mr Muir for forwarding the agenda.

Conor Ryan said...

They are not the same policies. What Brown announced yesterday that was new was the tough target that 670 state schools getting fewer than 30% of their pupils through five good GCSEs including English and Maths would close if they didn't shape up by 2013. In case you think that's a doddle, remember that 1600 schools - half of all English state secondaries -couldn't reach that standard when your lot left office in 1997. The means for replacing them are indeed the legislation that followed stories like you quote and city academies. And such targets do work - David Blunkett set one in 2000 - targeting schools below 25% good GCSEs - and cut the numbers from 600 to 26. Vision or not, it actually works.

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

My suggestion: Keep Christmas. Dispense with the Institute of Public Policy.

mitch said...

considering the state of education it would be better to close the schools anyway and give the cash back to the parents so it can be spent on a proper education.

Anonymous said...

I am NOT politically correct!!

I intend to celebrate Christmas

freedom to prosper said...

Schools and higher education are a complete waste of money and should be sold off. The only arguement to keep them is that they are a job creation scheme for millions who couldn't get employment anywhere else. You see we would have to pay them benefits but either way they vote Labour. Back to my hobby horse nobody working in the public sector or on benefits should be allowed to vote.

Me vs Maradona vs Elvis said...

Anonymous 4.18 is clearly today's Labour Party nutter on here. For every article there's always one 'I'll vote Labour forever no matter what they do' type making a nonce of himself.

Atlas shrugged said...

Any vision Gordon sees with his one non 'All Seeing Eye' is a vision I do not want to ever see. Whenever he gets around to telling us what it is.

I do not want Gordon's anything EVER.

Like most sensible people, I just want my country back. So myself and my fellow human beings can make the place we are now forced to live in, better.

Almost all good things are done by ordinary people. Politicians destroy OUR hard work so they can take the credit for forcing us to rebuild it all over again.

All the really bad ideas like world wars, depressions, civil strife, revolutions, nuclear weapons, over armed forces, monopoly central banks, monopoly state education, monopoly state health services, monopoly state education systems, civil servants, state torture cells, monopoly state broadcasting/propaganda, secret services and last but not at all least monopoly state religion designed to confuse and obscure the TRUTH.

Come from politicians and the big 'self printed cash' demons, that sustains them. With absolutely no exceptions whatsoever.

strapworld said...

Verity is saying what I firmly believe.

This very weak man will be carried out by people in white coats!

Is it true that he is/was gay? So many suggestions or innuendo's on guido's!

Anonymous said...

You cannot expect a blog to be taken seriously if you do not "moderate" comments more then every few hours.

verity said...

Oi! Freedom to Prosper! That's my hobby horse!

I've mentioned it before, but here is my formula:

Nobody in the public sector allowed to vote in national elections, and that includes MPs and the Prime Minister as well as outreach workers and street football coordinators.

No one receiving money - as in a living allowance and/or free accommodation - to be allowed to mark a ballot. The exception would be OAPs (who had paid into the system during their working lives). OAPs who had slipped seamlessly from JobSeekers' Allowances,income support and training schemes into pension recipients would be disenfranchised.

The exception to the public sector would be our military. Once, I would have included the police in this exception, but no longer. Firefighters and paramedics - I'm open to persuasion either way.

I wouldn't mind if public sector workers could vote in local elections. However, there would be no exceptions for those on state support. No vote until you are employed.

Workwise, I would click them off the electoral roll once they had been unemployed for a certain period of time. Say six months, or eight months. And reinstate them when they were employed again. Easy enough to do these days.

I think it was Ozzie novelist Nevil Shute who proposed changing the voting system, although very differently, some time back in the '30s. He thought it would make sense for some people to get two, three, four or up to five votes, while the vast majority would get just one.

I believe Shute thought that being in possession of a degree should get one an extra vote. The military should get extra votes, according to rank. Having an advanced degree - depending on how advanced - two to three extra votes. As all the professors/dons these days are raving loony lefties, I think this idea has lost any merit it may once have had.

Anyway, in this computerised age, easy enough to implement and we eliminate the injustice of non-contributors voting themselves a share of our incomes.

The current voting system was fine before the foundation of welfare states and, in the US, Johnson's Great Society. Now it's trashed out and needs to be changed.

Atlas shrugged said...

Anon 9;27

You can not expect to have a blog taken seriously if you do.

You FASCIST prick.

mitch said...

There is no point listening to browns burblings because nothing is new its all warmed over rubbish or stolen from other parties.For a man of "vision" he is very coy about telling us perhaps like his vaunted brains its all spin and bullshit.Maybe murdoch hasnt told him what it is yet.

Manfarang said...

All this stuff about schools is becoming very tedious and I take my Yuletide celebrations very seriously even if I am a Non-subscribing Presbyterian.

beachhutman said...

You weren't expecting integrity, were you? Just in case you've forgotten this is Gordon Brown, the man who bluffed and misled us through 10 years of budget statements.

Anonymous said...

(for Travis Bickle)
Was it not Mrs T who 'introduced' (not phased out) Care in the Community having been sold this particularly uncaring policy on the premise it was a) kinder to the afflicted, and b) cheaper, than the asylums which in many ways worked so well. Was not Prof Griffiths part of this? As it turns out it is horribly uncaring to the mentally ill and vastly beaurocratic and expensive - a Labour policy; her instincts were against it, like the EMU, and as usual her instincts were correct.

Glyn H

One of our Purnells is missing said...

Gordon Brown is a man of vision. He has transformed politics, brought wealth to the country, never sold our gold and has never raided the pension fund. His policies on education are brilliant and show that the last 10 years have not been wasted. Kids are better educated, polite and respectful and even criminals have improved under Labour. Hurrah!! for Gordon, Man of the Manse and the needle in my compass.

If I wasn't held in this straight jacket in this Institution he would get my vote every time.

judith said...

Care in the Community was not introduced under Thatcher but under Major. The psychiatrists and NHS wonks loved it - many of the psych nurses were against it.

If you tried protesting that asylums were just that, in the true sense of the word, for many of the mentally afflicted, you were regarded as though you were recommending a return to Bedlam.

I had it explained to me that because some patients were wrongly banged up for decades, the asylums had to close. A bit like closing District Gen Hospitals because surgeons sometimes cut off the wrong leg.

And Community Care is probably a lot more expensive than asylums, and fails the patients and the public far more.

Roger Thornhill said...

State screws up schools.

Brown's answer: More state money and involvement.

He is an idiot.

The real answer is to dismantle the state monopoly on education PROVISION. Vouchers.

Travis Bickle said...

Glyn H

thanks for putting me right over my Care in the Community mistake, I must be getting brainwashed by this government's blaming of every misdeed in British history on Mrs T and the evil Toreeeeeez.

In either case anyone who writes complete (and dangerous) tosh like the think tank report needs to be locked up for the greater good of society

Anonymous said...

Care in Community comes down to this -

There are a number of people who are mentally ill to the point of being unable to function as part of an organised society. They are not curable - occasionally one or two seem to snap out of it, but this is very, very rare.

The Victorian approach was to lock them up and study them in the hope of finding a cure. Later, came drugs to make them compliant (or vegetables, depending on your point of view).

If you let them out, they won't take the drugs. There are side effects, and when they feel "well" they stop taking medication. So they revert to their natural state.

What is humane response?

Incidentally, Labour has been walking around with it's firmly shut about failures in public services. The failure of schools to teach literacy is caused by a combination of teaching methods and a discipline problem.

When the last gets mentioned, expect some snears about Victorian values and bringing back the cane. This illustrates the poverty of imagination of the snearers quite well. Quite simply, there are a large number of children who don't want to learn and there is no structure to make them. The result is that they don't learn.

It has taken 10 years for NuLabour to get that far.

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

The state has no more business running schools or universities than making motor cars. Both should be left entirely to private enterprise or charitable foundations.

Pulling out of education would save the taxpayer billions. Parents (wealthier, because paying less tax) could then chose whether or not to educate their children, and if so, where and for how long.

You fear that some parents would choose not to educate their children? But that's what happens now. The only difference is, under the present system the renegades are rounded up and sent to school by law, where they learn nothing and screw up the system for everyone else.