Brown vows to take on innumeracy - again

18th May 2007 at 01:00
EVERY CHILD will count under a Gordon Brown premiership, the chancellor pledged this week, announcing plans to tackle the innumeracy of 150,000 primary leavers each year.

This "highly intensive" coaching would be different from the one-to-one tuition announced earlier in the year and would cost an extra pound;35 million a year.

But, as the Conservatives were quick to point out, the first education announcement of Mr Brown's leadership campaign was almost identical to his budget speech, when he said 300,000 primary pupils would benefit from one-to-one maths tuition by 2010.

Mr Brown said this week that he had always supported the academy programme.

But Alan Johnson, education secretary, said academy numbers had been set at a maximum of 400. "We are not looking to make every secondary school an academy," he said.

Meanwhile, senior Blairites are using the leadership handover to push for radical changes. John Hutton, the work and pensions secretary, argues in a new book that too many poorly performing schools are tolerated. "A more transparent system of payment by results would significantly improve performance accountability and help generate a greater intolerance of failure," he writes.

In the same book, Charles Clarke, a former education secretary, castigated the National Union of Teachers for stalling reform, arguing that heads should be given responsibility for distributing pay packets.

Robert Hill, a former senior adviser to Mr Blair and Mr Clarke, called for a voucher system, which would allow parents of gifted or under-performing pupils to pay for extra tuition.

Robert Hill, page 26

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