Ed Miliband: Labour will give parents power to oust headteachers

Proposed public service overhaul includes education hit squads to boost performance of failing schools or teachers – Published on The Guardian, by Patrick Wintour, Feb 9, 2014.

Parents are to be given a new power to call in a specialist team to boost the performance of failing schools or teachers, under a set of wide-ranging public service reform plans to be laid out on Monday by the Labour leader, Ed Miliband.

The improvement team, working separately from Ofsted, will have powers to set out school improvement plans, order greater collaboration between schools or even remove failing headteachers. The body would have powers to intervene with academies, free schools and community schools. 

Miliband has been relatively quiet on reform of schools, hospitals and local government, but will say on Monday he wants to usher in “a new culture of people-powered public services”.

Writing in the Guardian, before delivering the annual Hugo Young lecture on Monday night, Miliband concedes: “I meet as many people coming to me frustrated by the unresponsive state as the untamed market. And the causes of the frustrations are often the same in the private and public sector: unaccountable power with the individual left powerless to act.”

He will claim he is just as determined to tackle unaccountable power in the public sector as he has already shown himself to be in relation to the private sector.

Miliband’s speech will unveil a hitherto hidden public service reform agenda, including a promise to devolve power away from Whitehall in a way that the party claims is as radical as Labour’s commitment to Scottish devolution in the 1990s.

Miliband will set out four reforms:

  • A trigger for parents to get swift action on raising standards in schools.
  • New powers for public service users to access and control their own information, including their health and school records.
  • Handing local councils three or five-year budgets to provide greater certainty and shift focus to prevention.
  • A right for public service users, including patients suffering a chronic illness, to link up with other users to share experience, build social networks and learn from one another. He also wants to give users a right to track their case, such as a crime report, in the same way private sector customers can track their online shopping orders.

Miliband’s plans to offer parents a mechanism to force improvements in their child’s school is aimed at giving a degree of control over improvements in public services to the people receiving them. He did not specify how many parents would be needed to trigger an improvement team visit but he said the number would be “substantial”. The hurdle will be lowered where Ofsted has already classified the school as inadequate … //

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Ofsted on en.wikipedia: The Office for Standards in Education, (Ofsted), Children’s Services and Skills is the non-ministerial government department of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspectorate of Education (HMIe) /(of Schools) (HMCI).[2] HMCI and Her Majesty’s Inspectors of Schools (HMI) In England are appointed by Order in Council and are thus office holders under the Crown. Though the inspectorate has existed since 25 May 1984, the office was reorganised under the Education (Schools) Act 1992, and is explicitly named in the Education and Inspections Act 2006 …;

A point is reached … when a continuously modified hypothesis becomes difficult to entertain seriously, on Real-World Economics Review Blog, by Peter Radford, Feb 9, 2014;

Income redistribution in the USA 1992 to 2012 – (3 charts), on Real-World Economics Review Blog, by David F. Ruccio, February 6, 2014;

Richard Stallman: We’ve got to limit surveillance to keep democracy, on Russia Today RT, Feb 6, 2014;

NSA locates cell phones even when switched off – report, on Russia Today RT, July 24, 2013.

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