Ed Balls posts online letter to Michael Gove

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Schools Secretary, Ed Balls, has posted an open letter on his website to the Shadow Schools Secretary, Michael Gove.

In the letter, Mr Balls explains that he wishes to: ‘put on record my deep regret that you have not been prepared to support key measures in the Children, Schools and Families Bill.’

The measure he claims are unsupported by the Conservatives include:

  • guaranteed one to one tuition for children who fall behind;
  • compulsory Home School Agreements so all parents support teachers to keep discipline;
  • statutory PSHE including sex and relationships and financial education;
  • proper protection for home educated children.

Mr Balls expands on each of the points in his letter. Of guaranteed one to one tuition he writes: ‘I believe that every child falling behind in English and maths should be guaranteed the small group and one to one support they need to catch up and make progress so that they are secure in the basics and ready to learn in secondary school. Such tailored support should no longer be the preserve of the wealthy and privileged few but a core component of the curriculum. I am deeply disappointed that you do not agree.’

Of his second point about Home School Agreements, he writes: ‘Our measures to strengthen Home School Agreements would give schools new and stronger powers to ensure all parents support schools to maintain good behaviour including the possibility of a court-imposed parenting order. I believe parents and the profession will be extremely concerned and disappointed at your refusal to back teachers and headteachers.’

As well as expanding on the remaining points, the Schools Secretary did: ‘recognise that, following the decision by the shadow Chancellor not to protect the schools budget this year, you have to find a very hefty and immediate cut to the DCSF budget in 2010-11, which the Institute for Fiscal Studies estimates at £1.7bn.’ However, he goes on to say: ‘Your refusal means the loss of a number of key provisions that would have made a significant difference to the lives of children and their families.

‘It is a great pity that you have put at risk improvements in our schools, support for pupils and the well-being of our young people. I will be campaigning to ensure that this Government is returned and that these measures do make it on the statute book in the first session of the new Parliament.’

Read Ed Balls’ letter on on his website.

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  1. Lisa Stevens
    on 8 April 2010

    But what about Primary Curric?

    Good to see what the objections were to certain sections of the Bill - but still waiting for an answer about the scrapping of the new Primary Curriculum.
    What was the intractable problem with it? It's been published and many schools are already implementing it and planning for next year.


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