WHY LABOUR PARTY MEMBERS SHOULD OPPOSE SCHOOLS OPTING OUT
It is obviously not right that an education system set up to provide for all children should be radically altered by the random decisions of a few schools. What may seem like the right decision for an individual school, viewed in isolation, could not only affect other schools, but could turn out to be the wrong decision in the long run for that school.
Opting out is not inevitable. Manchester’s record as an LEA is excellent and is recognised as such by most people who have any contact with the education service. Opting out would mean an enormous loss of support, expertise and access to other services (such as Music Service, Museum Education, Education Welfare, etc).
What follows are just brief points to enable you to begin to make the case against opting out (becoming ‘Grant Maintained’), in the event that the issue is raised soon in your governing body. No governing body should be rushing into making hasty, ill-considered decisions.
If there is an increase in the number of schools opting out, the Government is likely to reduce the financial bribes. There is a lot of uncertainty about the future funding for GM schools. There is also evidence from GM schools that most of the extra money has been spent on increased bureaucracy in the school (eg administration of payroll, pupil admissions).
Heads and Governors of GM schools feel isolated. There is a loss of support from the LEA in terms of legal advice, personnel-related issues, resolving conflicts with parents etc.
Governors of opted out schools have to deal with employment and conditions of service issues (currently dealt with by the LEA and National negotiating machinery). Do Governors really want all this extra work?
Lack of information
Parents need, and are entitled to expect, more information from the Government about what they are being invited to opt into and the implications for the rest of the system. How will children who are rejected by GM schools be protected? There is currently no appeals mechanism if a school says it is full or simply excludes a child. What will happen to children with special educational needs?
If ‘opting out’ is on your Governing Body’s agenda for serious discussion, please:
- Immediately inform the Chair of the Deputy Chair of the Education Committee…
- Insist that the Governing Body obtain information booklets and advice from the Local Schools Information Unit London.
This text is taken straight from the document written by Kath. This Appendix relates to Chapter 22.