Ministers push for academisation with “smoke and mirrors” white paper

Elliot Chappell
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Ministers will unveil the schools white paper today. Central to the plan is a push for academy trusts to take over the running of schools in England. Schools will be told they should be part of a group of academy schools, or in the process of joining a multi-academy trust, by 2030 and councils will be allowed to establish their own multi-academy trusts. Labour is not impressed with what has been outlined, instead advocating for its ‘Children’s Recovery Plan‘. Bridget Phillipson accused the government of “looking backwards” and “distracting from the business of teaching with yet more tinkering with school structures whilst offering nothing to change children’s day to day experience in the classroom”.

The white paper includes a target for 90% of children leaving primary school to reach the expected standard in reading, writing and maths – up from the 65% who did in 2019. Phillipson said parents would be surprised that the focus on these essentials is a “new discovery” for the Education Secretary. The Shadow Education Secretary argued that parents should not have to ask the government to do what she described as “the fundamentals of a good school system” and that the targets revealed today show that after 12 years in government the Conservatives have “failed to get the basics right”. She added: “Once again we have a smoke and mirrors announcement from a government that has simply run out of ideas.”

Stella Creasy has written for LabourList on a new, time-limited fund set up to support mums to be Labour candidates. The Walthamstow MP explained to readers that ‘MotheRED’ aims to tackle the “motherhood penalty” and the fund “will help open up our selections to a cohort of talent currently excluded not by their skill set, but by their childcare costs”. Frances O’Grady has written on today’s Trade Union Congress and Justice for Columbia reception and the role of the labour movement. “Our movement must be unwavering in its determination to see peace and social justice not just talked about, but implemented – in Colombia, and around the world,” the general secretary wrote. Read the full piece here.

In other Labour news, Dawn Butler announced she has been diagnosed with breast cancer following a routine mammogram and that she will be taking some time off to recover from an operation. “It is a shock but an early diagnosis means that it is something that I will get through and get over. The operation was a complete success,” the MP said in a statement this morning. The LabourList team sends Dawn our best wishes for a speedy recovery.

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