15 June 2009

Ed balls says he wants an honest debate, but then....

I have just watched Ed Balls on Sky News, agreeing that an honest debate is needed on taxes. He then went on to talk about the desire to continue raising schools' funding.

I am sure this will be of interest to the growing number of schools who have had to make cuts this year to prevent them setting deficit budgets.

The biggest issue with education funding is that too much is managed and controlled from the centre. Labour want every school to belong to a category of some sort so that they can then dictate how to improve, effectively bypassing the LEAs and the people that know those schools best. All of this eats money which could and should be passed directly to schools. The right leaders in those schools will be able to use that funding to improve in a way that suits their culture and ethos, not the one dictated by Government.

Labels: ,

27 December 2008

Being Fair to Ed Balls

Ed Balls has come 2nd in Iain Dale's poll for worst Minister of the Year. Personally, I think that is a shame.

I saw Ed Balls at the Children and Young People's Services Awards in London not long after the Baby P court case ended. On that occasion he spoke from the heart and what he said made an immense amount of sense, no least the importance of making sure the Social Work profession is bolstered and supported rather than condemned - something that is being said by both Conservative and Labour Councillors across the Country. I don't recall any Lib Dems saying it, but then there are no votes in it.

On that occasion Ed Balls was fantastic with the young people at the awards ceremony too, touring the tables, chatting to anyone that wanted to speak to him and making sure that anyone who wanted had a photo taken. Most Ministers would have turned up, spoke and left.

It should also be remembered that Ed Balls has sponsored a number of bills through Parliament that have had cross party support.

I suspect there are two reason for his low rating. Firstly, he faces an excellent Shadow Children's team, led by Michael Gove - who is, quite rightly, ranked number two in Iain's poll of the best Shadow Ministers and does a good job of exposing the many weaknesses of the Government. But I think the main reason has to be that many of the times he is speaking he is having to support his failing boss - and Ed Balls does not come across well when he is trying to waffle and put across Government spin that does not stack up. I suspect if he was allowed to stick at being Minister for Children he would fare much better.


09 December 2007

More interference in schools is not the answer

Ed Balls has announced a major review of primary education, it seems with a view to loosening up the curriculum to focus on core subjects.

I don't disagree with the principles here, but the best way of delivering the desired result is to reduce interference not to do more. Why not give schools the freedom to set their own curriculum and make them accountable for delivering the right outcomes, then focus on those that fail to deliver?

Change after change after change is demoralising for teachers, confusing for parents and destabilises education.

Labels: ,