Giving schools the freedom to do what is right

Giving schools the freedom to do what is right

It was one of the boldest speeches to come from a Secretary of State for Education for a long time – and it had a vision that will benefit all children.

Damien Hinds’ vision for education gives schools the freedom to do what is right for the children and parents they are serving.

It focussed on providing ‘a world-class education for everyone, whatever your path, whatever your background’.

This positivity contrasts starkly with Labour’s policy of bringing everything back under local authority control. This would be stifling, limit creativity and stifle any good ideas coming at school level.

Mr Hinds will allow good schools, including grammar schools, to expand.

Whereas Labour would abolish grammar schools and impose centralised control on the allocation of school places. This would mean poor schools would continue to exist no matter how bad their performance was.

The rolling out of T’ Levels in the next couple of years will also provide more pathways for vocational and technical education. This will be coupled with more vocational education at university level. I very much welcome this.

However, I do think we need a more realistic education provision to meet not only individuals’ needs but also the nation’s needs. In my opinion, we should be giving 70% of children a technical or vocational education and 30% a highly academic education. And crucially – there should be no hierarchical difference between these pathways.

I agree with Mr Hinds that we should embrace the technological advances that are rapidly taking place, rather than fear them. We must train and educate people for the new challenges and opportunities that will emerge from a highly technical and automated society.

We cannot take a ‘Luddite’ approach and bury our head in the sand. Things are changing fast and the workforce must be flexible and we’ll be equipped and skilled to face these challenges.

In all of this, we must not forget the most crucial role primary education plays in all of this, we still need to teach primary children numeracy and literacy to a high standard in order for secondary schools and further education to be able to build on this and train the workforce of the future.