My BlogBlog

Education, Policy Apr 17 2014

Who runs our schools – no choice for parents

Almost 40 years ago the then Prime Minister Jim Callaghan made a controversial speech on education. Delivered at Ruskin College in Oxford, it was widely seen as a challenge to the “ secret garden” of the education world; a place inhabited by unaccountable teachers, a nebulous curriculum and most definitely off limits for the political […]

Guardian articles Apr 16 2014

Unequal funding may be the greatest injustice of all

In recent months I have started to think that I was becoming unshockable. The simmering anger triggered by the early days of the coalition has faded. I even managed to spend 90 minutes in a studio with free school founder Toby Young recently only to emerge having found points of agreement. What’s left is just […]

Guardian articles Mar 31 2014

Labour needs a triple shot

Over the past ten years I have got used to various ups and downs in my relationship with the Labour Party over its education policy. I have been a member since I was 16, worked for the last government and even thought of standing for Parliament at one stage. So much of the party’s record […]

Why should the state bail out failing private schools?

More than a hundred private schools are predicted to make the move in the state sector in the next decade according to former schools minister Lord Adonis. Should we be delighted, or dismayed? Most people would probably think any reduction in the number of “fee charging” schools in our highly stratified education system is a […]

The bitterest pill of all

It is just over three years since I helped to set up the Local Schools Network. Originally intended as a forum to celebrate the successes of local state schools, the LSN has become much more than that. The contributions of parents, teachers and governors across the country mean it has become a place to discuss […]

Other Articles Jan 9 2014

What I learned at school

My overwhelming memory of my school days is of freedom, to grow and develop as an individual and to learn to love individual subjects.  It always amuses me to read about how much more rigorous education was supposed to be back then – I started secondary school in 1968. Although we had some wonderful, inspiring […]

The policy boys – who is behind the big ideas?

The furore surrounding the departure of Michael Gove adviser Dominic Cummings may have died down. But his parting shot – a 250 page tract on everything from genetics to school effectiveness and teacher quality – raised interesting questions about who makes education policy, and how. Quizzed on Mr Cummings’ influence recently, the Secretary of State […]

Just say no to more grammars

If I were Michael Gove, the decision I would least relish at the moment would be having to rule on the fate of the Sevenoaks grammar school. This little time bomb was lobbed into the Secretary of State’s court around 18 months ago when the county council in fully selective Kent decided to approve the […]

The future of London schools

I was educated in London state schools, all my children have been educated in London state schools and I have been actively involved in those schools as a parent and governor for over 20 years. I care passionately about the future of London education and am proud of what we have achieved in the last […]

Other Articles, Policy Dec 1 2013

Why Justin Welby is right about faith admissions

The Archbishop of Canterbury made an important statement yesterday. Church schools, he said, may be moving away from faith based entry tests and opening their doors to a wider group of pupils than is currently the case. His comments were swiftly toned down. But it was too late – intentionally or not, the Archbishop had […]