Labour was right!
In 2006 when Tony Blair began the melodrama of handing over the reins of power to Gordon Brown, he declared that the UK wide rollout of the Academy School system would form part of his legacy.
Blair was right then, and the Conservatives are right now to pursue a policy of making every primary and secondary school an Academy.
However, in recent years and months the Labour Party has decided to neglect the futures of the next generation of children and adopt a stance that would roll back the success of the academy system. This not only shows a disappointing neglect for future generations, but also a party more interested in the ideological purity of an idea than practical, workable and successful solutions that deliver for our children.
When the Conservatives came to power in 2010, only 66 per cent of children were in good or outstanding schools. Now, 86 per cent of children are in good or outstanding schools. This statistic alone is proof that under the Conservatives, and with the expansion of academy schools, education in this country is improving. And to coin a phrase, education is improving not just for the few, not even for the many, but it’s improving for all.
Here in Hastings and St Leonards every school, except one is now part of the academy school system. This means they have greater autonomy over what they teach, how they spend their budgets, who they hire and the education they provide to their pupils. The logical decision to give headteachers the autonomy to make the choices and decisions that work best for their school is a good one. To think that politicians and mandarins in Westminster know better how to teach the pupils at Hastings Academy better than the staff there is simply ludicrous.
Back in the heady days on 1996 when the British public was being blasted with songs like Things Can Only Get Better, Tony Blair appeared on a stage in Blackpool and avowed that his three priorities for Government would be “Education, education and education.” He must now look on at the Labour Party of Jeremy Corbyn and despair. Not only have they shown themselves to now be a block to progress and the enemy of an improving education system, but also that for the Corbyn cabal ideological dogma has a higher priority than the practical, workable solutions.
In recent years it has been the Conservative party that has taken on the task of improving our children’s life chances with better schools, an improving curriculum, higher standards and a schools system that endorses, improves and implements better standards.
It was clear in 2006, and it is even clearer now, that the only way to secure the best start in life for future generations, with the highest possible educational standards, is to support the academy school system and ensure that every school takes on the mantle of academy status.
In the words of Stanley Ough, who wrote in his poem, Education: The Key to Life, “Education, the key to unlock the golden door of freedom, and stage our rise to stardom.” It should be the duty of all of us in public life to seek to unlock that golden door and allow every child to obtain their stardom.
Education really is the key to life.