Archives for January 29th, 2002

ALLOW PARENTS TO CHOOSE SCHOOLS URGES THINK TANK

Headlines, PublicNet: 29 January, 2002

Parents should be allowed to choose the school for their children and the control of place allocations by the local education authority should be ended. This is a key recommendation of the Adam Smith Institute in its report ‘Learning from Europe’. The Institute has looked at the education arrangements in Denmark and Holland and found that parental choice combined with a per capita system of finance where the money goes to state and independent schools, delivers higher standards. It also results in high levels of parental satisfaction.As well as abolishing official barriers to school choice, the report urges that organisations, parents and teachers should be allowed to set up their own new schools or expand existing ones. In the Netherlands new schools qualify for funding provided that over time they can enroll a minimum of 333 pupils in the cities and 200 pupils in rural areas. In Denmark, support from the families of 28 pupils is required. These liberal provision policies have promoted a beneficial form of competition that has squeezed out most of the problem of failing schools that is so stark in the United Kingdom.

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TORY EDUCATION POLICY IN THE MELTING POT

Headlines, PublicNet: 29 January, 2002

Conservative shadow education secretary Damian Green returning from a fact-finding visit to Germany has made it clear that his party’s education policy will be changed radically. When the policy proposals are published it will be clear that they relate closely to the party leader’s shift of priority from tax cuts to protecting public services.Greater autonomy for head teachers and teacher training are areas being examined closely. Giving heads greater freedom would allow them to mould schools more closely to the needs of the children, rather than following a prescribed pattern. A proposal is also being examined to set up a Royal College of Teaching which would play a similar role to the medical royal colleges in promoting good practice and supporting research.

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