Wednesday, February 05, 2014

David Laws goes to war over Ofsted and academies

In an interview with the Independent, the Liberal Democrat education minister (and much esle) David Laws has demanded reform of the system for making key public appointments to prevent cabinet ministers installing political allies.

David wants to stop Michael Gove imposing Theodore Agnew, a Tory donor whose Inspiration Trust runs seven academies and free schools, as Baroness Morgan’s successor as head of Ofsted.

There should be no question of such an appointment: it would represent a clear conflict of interest. But, incredibly, while Ofsted has the power to inspect individual academies, it has no power to inspect chains of schools like those run by Mr Agnew's trust.

David Laws told the Independent:
“When the academies programme started, it had a lot of enemies and was regarded as a precious flower that needed protection. But this flower has now grown strong enough to survive in the full heat of the sun. 
“There are some really good local authorities and there are still some terrible ones. In the same way, there are some good academy groups doing an absolutely fantastic job – like Ark and Harris – and some not doing so well. ...
“Ofsted must be able to shine a spotlight wherever it wants to. I don’t want there are to be any constraints. It ought to be able to inspect the chains.”
And he is right.
Featured on Liberal Democrat Voice

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