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'Education reformers' call for more tests and stronger discipline

Group made up of supporters of reforms brought in under Michael Gove and David Cameron call for shift in policy focus

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A group of school leaders, teachers and policymakers has launched a campaign calling for education reforms to focus on areas such as more testing and stronger behaviour policies.

The coalition of “education reformers” (see below) is heavily made up of supporters of the reforms brought in under Michael Gove and David Cameron and includes the likes of Tom Bennett, founder of ResearchEd and chair of the Department for Education Behaviour Group, Dan MoynihanCEO of Harris Federation and Rachel Wolf, founder of the New Schools Network and former education special adviser to the prime minister.

The group, called Parents and Teachers for Excellence, will push for the government’s schools policy to “move away from structures” and focus more on what happens in the classroom.

The campaign says it will aim to promote “knowledge-based curricula that emphasise extensive subject knowledge; the benefits of regular, rigorous assessment throughout pupils’ school lives; promoting enrichment through a longer school day; and the need for effective behaviour policies”.

The launch comes just a week after the government announced its plans to dramatically expand the number of grammar schools in England.

But the group’s founder, Rachel De Souza, chief executive of the academy chain Inspiration Trust, said the PTE was not created in response to the government’s plan.

Instead, Dame De Souza said the PTE will argue the case for the government to go beyond their academies and free school policies and focus on boosting the education “for all children”.

“The debate was going too far down the ‘local authority schools versus academies’ route, which we felt was missing the point of what we are trying to do in academies and free schools”, she said.

“It is really important that parents don’t get lost in this structures debate and instead we should be promoting what curriculum is being taught. What are our children learning? What are our approaches to behaviour?”

Dame De Souza added that the campaign will move the education debate away from the “elites in Westminster and Whitehall” and aim to mobilise parents and teachers across the country. 

The PTE advisory council is made up of the following:

Tom Bennett, Founder of ResearchEd and Chair of the Department for Education Behaviour Group

John Blake, History Consultant & Leading Practitioner at Harris Federation

Christine Counsell, Director of Education, Inspiration Trust

Anthony Denny, Parent & Governor, Jane Austen College

Rachel De Souza, CEO, Inspiration Trust

Toby French, Lead Practitioner, Torquay Academy

Claire Heald, Executive Principal, Jane Austen College

Karl Hoods, Chairman of Governors, Harris Academy Beckenham

Hywel Jones, Head Teacher, West London Free School

Michaela Khatib, Executive Head, Cobham Free School

Mark Lehain, Principal, Bedford Free School

Stuart Lock, Head Teacher, Cottenham Village College

Helena Mills, CEO, Burnt Mills Academy Trust

Munira Mirza, Former Deputy Mayor of Education and Culture for London

Dan Moynihan, CEO, Harris Federation

Libby Nicholas, CEO, Reach 4 Academy Trust

Sara Noel, Parent and Governor, Cottenham Village College

Martyn Oliver, CEO, Outwood Grange Academies Trust

James O'Shaughnessy, Founder of Floreat Education Academies Trust

Bruno Reddy, Maths Social Entrepreneur & former Head of Maths at King Solomon Academy

Martin Robinson, Educationalist & author of Trivium21c

Mark Rose, Governor, Great Yarmouth Primary Academy

Jo Saxton, CEO, Turner Schools Multi-Academy Trust

Tony Sewell, Founder of Generating Genius

Jonathan Simons, Head of Education at Policy Exchange & Chairman of Governors, Greenwich Free School

Luke Sparkes, Principal, Trinity Academy

Alex Wade, Parent and Chairman of Governors, Fulham Boys School

Claire Ward, Parent, Cobham Free School

Rachel Wolf, Founder of The New Schools Network & Former Special Adviser to the Prime Minister for Education

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