I sat on the newly established Task and Finish Group on Education strategy today. It was a very interesting session, because at the end we were asking ourselves whether we had a role at all in education after the Gove reforms.
I am increasingly worried about the long term effects of these reforms, and I fear that a completely free marked for admissions will leave people out of the system. I hope we will be able to look at how the admissions policy will work in the future, with no real education department to oversee the big picture.
On exculsions there are serious questions too. The Pupil Referral Unit was rated outstanding by ofsted recently, and I hope we are able to retain the service, because under the new Academies framework, the schools are required to find alternative education for excluded pupils. I really can't see that working.
I think it's a pity that the Government goes on about localism, then abolishes it education. We have fought hard to get local democratic accountabiliity for the Health services, against some serious resistance. We are now looking to go backwards in education. The only democratic accountability will be though the secretary of state, who will be dealing with 4,000 schools and fewer staff, whilst local authorities decimate their education departments anyway.
I hope we are not reduced to getting influence by exchanging capital investment for governor places at Academies.
All in all these sessions should be interesting and I look forward to the outcomes.