Wednesday, 1 October 2008

It’s broken – so fix it

But don’t leave it to the politicians to work out how

The Conservative Party (the Tories) has been holding its Annual Conference in Birmingham this week. Outlining party policy for a future Conservative government, education spokesman Michael Gove declared that secondary schools would have the chance to free themselves from bureaucratic control.
He would follow the Swedish model of parental choice – with schools competing for pupils, rather than pupils competing for schools’. Here is a little of what he said:

Not only will we restore to schools all the freedoms they've lost, we'll dramatically expand freedom for professionals... An independent state school accessible to every community… free to innovate and experiment and drive up standards – that is our ambition… the innovations pioneered in the best schools will be deployed to drive up standards in the poorest… We are utterly determined to focus our policies on all those who are deprived of aspiration, deprived of opportunity, deprived of hope.

There appears to have been no official mention of ‘special educational needs’ from the conference platform (do please correct me if I am wrong), a small unthinking act of discrimination.

There were lobby groups at the conference on behalf of deaf and autistic childen but not apparently for children with cerebral palsy (again, I hope that I am wrong). There was nobody there to advocate for Conductive Education.


What an open door to push against: freedom for professionals, free to innovate and experiment, innovations pioneered in the best schools tobe deployed to drive up standards in the poorest for those deprived of aspiration, opportunity, hope – sounds like just the opening that Conductive Education has been waiting for.

Politicians love promising to heal the ills of society (current jargon: ‘fix our broken society’) but first they have to know that there’s something there crying out to be fixed and secondly they have to be shown the tools to do the job.

There’s probably time for the Conservatives to hold another Annual Conference before the next General Election. After that, they just might be in government.


- (2008) Tories would double academies, Whitehall and Westminster World, 30 September

Prince, R (2008) Tory party conference: Schools to get budget freedom under Conservative plans, Daily Telegraph, 30 September (includes video)


  1. Andrew, I am pushing at that "open door" on behalf of Paces and Paces School. If anyone in the CE movement in the UK would care to join me in doing so, I'd be delighted to hear from them.