Lib Dems not part of Con/Lab deal over schools

June 1, 2006 11:51 PM

The Lib Dems are more concerned about standards in schools than reorganising structures. Chelmsford Lib Dem Stephen Robinson (parliamentary candidate 2005) has attacked the "cosy agreement between the Labour and Conservative parties" on the Education Bill currently before Parliament. In a letter to the Essex Chronicle, Mr Robinson responded to a headline on 28 April talking about a "consensus on education".

Mr Robinson said

"The Liberal Democrats are not part of the cosy agreement between Labour and the Conservatives. They both favour greater control from Whitehall; we want local communities to have a greater say. They both want the schools to choose which pupils can attend; we say that will lead to division and inequality. They want schools to compete; we want schools to collaborate over best practice.

"Liberal Democrats say that the Education Bill is a giant missed opportunity. Our schools do need reform, but not the type that Labour and the Conservatives support.

"The Government is misleading parents with a promise of greater choice - but it will mean opportunities for the few. By focusing on structures not standards, Labour is ignoring reforms that could really make a difference.

"To close the education attainment gap between the haves and have-nots, we need more radical reforms, that are based on evidence and proven to work. Liberal Democrats want an Education Bill that gives real freedom from Whitehall control.

"We want reforms that drive up standards in classrooms, and help local schools work together to tackle under performance. We need a Bill that gives schools more freedom over what they teach, not who they teach; a Bill that fosters collaboration, not competition; and a Bill that make schools accountable to local parents, not distant quangos."

Stephen Robinson

Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate 2005, West Chelmsford