Headlines: June 13th, 2001

The new Education and Skills Secretary, Estelle Morris, has entered the debate over whether it will be private or public expertise which delivers the improvement the public demands in the health and education sector.Just as TUC General Secretary John Monks was praising her at the AEEU conference for indicating that she wanted a fruitful relationship with unions, she has warned the profession that it is improvement – by whatever means – that is the priority.

Speaking at the Henry Compton Secondary School in Hammersmith, Ms Morris said: “We will work with the private sector where that will benefit schools and pupils. What matters is what works. Where we think the private sector can deliver we won’t hesitate to draw on its skills.”

The former secondary school teacher went on to outline that her priority was to turn into legislation those secondary school reforms outlined in February’s Green Paper. These include a new framework for teaching 11-14 year olds, a distinct character, mission and ethos for every school, and a bigger thrust towards vocational education, starting at 14 instead of 16.