10th October 2008 at 01:00
Rescuing standards ain't easy

So the Tory leader is offering to rescue standards in education - although it seems good English will not be on the agenda.

In his conference speech, David Cameron said that his Government would "bring - and I mean this almost literally - a declaration of war against those parts of the educational establishment who still cling to the cruelty of the `all must win prizes' philosophy and the dangerous practice of dumbing down".

Hmm . "almost literally" a war. Good to see that those school fees weren't wasted.

But my conference spies say FE got a good hearing at the party conferences this year. All heard some choice facts about colleges that should reduce the chances of their being ignored in the run-up to the next election.

The news that colleges cater for more 16 to 18-year-olds than schools was greeted with "gasps of amazement" by all threes parties, I'm told.

Not only are the Tories receptive but it seems that the Liberal Democrats - already seen as cuddly towards colleges - have lost none of their enthusiasm for the work done by our readers. What I suspect they also agree on is that the case for equal pay with school teachers is only strong in principle.

Meanwhile, the Government has made some changes: Bill Rammell, the further and higher education minister, returns to the Foreign Office; skills minister David Lammy, a Harvard Law graduate and chum of Barack Obama, goes to HE; and Sion Simon becomes FE minister.

Good luck, Bill. We've always known that as soon as you really started to understand further education you'd have to move on.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today