No trusts for Lib-Dems

25th September 1998 at 01:00
LIBERAL Democrat leaders will have to rethink their scheme to increase local participation in the running of schools after their plan for Neighbourhood School Trusts was defeated by a majority at the party conference in Brighton.

"What are you afraid of, delegates?" asked party education spokesman Phil Willis, MP. He described the plan, under which community-based groups would be encouraged to establish trusts to run schools under contract to their local authority as "the most Liberal proposal before the conference".

Education spokesman Don Foster MP said the trusts would simply be a "reformed, enlarged and empowered governing body".

But delegates were more convinced by speakers who opposed further structural upheaval and concerns about getting people to sit on the trusts.

Peter Downes, former head of Hinchingbrooke School and a former president of the Secondary Heads Association, said he had not found any heads, governors or councillors to support the plan.

The conference approved the rest of the motion, which proposed early-years education for all 3 to 5-year-olds whose parents wanted it; a maximum average class size of 25 in primary schools and a maximum class size of 18 for foreign language courses and practical science and technology classes: the reversal of the Greenwich judgment on school admissions; and giving all children with special educational needs the right to be educated in mainstream schools.

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,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today