Think standards not politics

16th June 2006 at 01:00
Andrew Haldenby (TES, June 2) has chosen to focus on the political debate surrounding the education Bill and in doing so underestimates the real difference this Bill will make for standards in schools.

The Bill means more catch-up lessons for those falling behind in the basics, the introduction of a clear right for teachers to discipline children, support for less wealthy parents with transport costs, and new measures to tackle failing schools.

The Bill will also enable schools to acquire a trust - to join with an external not-for-profit organisation that will support them by sharing expertise and strengthening governance. Relationships between schools and external partners are not a new concept. They can be instrumental in raising standards, something that specialist schools and academies continue to show us.

The Bill allows schools to improve outcomes for pupils through collaboration with the public, private and voluntary sectors. It is such improvement in standards that our policies should be judged on; not the political debate surrounding them.

Jim Knight

Schools minister

Sanctuary Buildings

Great Smith Street, London SW1

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