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A constructive debate around the role of government in education policy is vital, says NAHT

Commenting on a speech today by Shadow Education Secretary Lucy Powell at the Education Foundation’s Education Reform Summit North in Sheffield, Russell Hobby, general secretary of school leaders' union NAHT said: “We will never completely remove politics from education. Nor should we: what more important topic is there for the future of our country? But we can forge a better relationship through the appropriate division of responsibilities, better planning and better communications. We welcome a constructive debate around the role of central government in education policy and what should be left to professionals to determine.

“The government has a basic responsibility to provide the resources in which autonomous and accountable professionals can operate effectively: sufficient school places where they are needed; a supply of talented teachers; and the money to run their schools effectively. One area in which more co-ordination is needed is planning for school places. NAHT has warned about the current fragmented system, and we welcome calls to ensure that local places are planned. In the absence of comprehensive local planning, new schools and places are not always being commissioned in the areas with the most need.

“Lucy Powell is right to warn about constant upheaval in education, which harms pupils, parents, teachers and school leaders. The rate of change is getting worse rather than better, with reforms now being overhauled before they are even implemented. Stability in the system is needed. Progress8, to be overtaken by the EBacc, is an example of change that has not even been given a chance to work before more changes are proposed. Even today the government has issued a further ten directives on changes to the GCSE and A Level curriculum, adding to the forty-nine changes already announced.

“This all adds up to further turmoil in secondary education. Pupils, parents, teachers and school leaders need better planning and communication.”

Page Published: 04/02/2016

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Steven George
NAHT Head of Press and Media

01444 472886

07970 907730

David Boot
Press and Parliamentary Officer
01444 472483
07595 067060

Email :  pressoffice@naht.org.uk