James Gordon Brown Speech On Education
[LYBIO COMING SOON]
[LYBIO COMING SOON]
[James Gordon Brown]
Let me say first of all what a great pleasure it is to be here at Woodberry Down primary school – and to be with your head teacher Greg Wallace, one of our national leaders in education and a great pioneer of primary school federations here in Hackney.
Let me thank Teach First for hosting today. And let me pay tribute also to you, Dame Julia, for all your work – as one of the founders of Teach First and more recently as its chair for the last three years during a period of unprecedented growth.
I am a long time supporter. When I visited the United States in the 1990s I saw how American children were benefiting from the way teach for America was bringing in top graduates to teach in their schools – and I knew then just how important it would be for Britain to set up a similar organization.
Today it is this independent charity that is making teaching the profession of choice; training the great talents of today to unlock the talents of tomorrow; and equipping our new teachers with the skills to capture the imagination of every child in the country – to bridge the gap between what they are and what they have it in themselves to become.
And with four Teach First graduates, Woodberry Down is part of a new pilot to extend teach first by bringing Britainâ€™s top graduates into our primary schools.
My family always believed in the potential of education. In my community – a mining community – parents invested heavily in schools because it was said rightly that education was the quickest way out of the mines. In fact the motto of the school next door was â€œrise to the light.â€
My grandfather – even when unemployed in the 1930s – used his savings to enable his son to become the first in his family to go to university.
My father surrounded me with books and encouraged me to learn.
And my mother – who felt she had missed out on university because of the war years – wanted all her sons to get the benefit of a university education.
So Iâ€™ve always understood just how important education is. How it nurtures minds, develops character, instils ambition and builds confidence. How it changes lives and offers our children the chance to be everything they can be.
I was fortunate. Because I, like my father, had the chance of a good education. But I still remember the anger and frustration I felt when close friends of mine who might have stayed on at school were denied their chance – or felt that university or even staying on was not for them.
There were no education guarantees for them. There are now.
But I also know that nowadays itâ€™s about more than the guarantee of simply getting access to education. Itâ€™s also about the highest of standards and the guarantee of quality.
As a parent I want the best for my children. And I know all of us do. We want them to have better chances than we had.
And that starts with education.
So itâ€™s understandable and right that parents will go to great lengths to give their children the best possible start in life.
Because what they want for their children is exactly what I want for my children.
I want to know that my children can go to an excellent school – with the best possible teaching and the best facilities. That they will be looked after – offered personal tuition whenever they need it; that there will be breadth of excellence, not just in academic study but in sport, music and drama; that there will be strong discipline; that they will make friends; and should never be disrupted by the bad behaviour of others.
And I want that offer to be there not just for my children but all children.
For when it comes to our children – nothing but the best is good enough. And I wonâ€™t rest until every parent in Britain can move forward – safe in the knowledge that all our children are at world class schools.
Because I stand for excellence in education. And I stand for excellence for all.
Because education is a ladder to social mobility. And as Britain comes out of recession – so through education – a new age of aspiration is within reach.
To succeed in the modern world, we know that Britain will need 2.5 million more skilled and professional jobs by 2020.
It is skills that will be the global currency of the future; and the skills of our children that will determine whether they can secure the middle class jobs of the future.
We have always recognized this. And it is why from the outset we have invested in education at every stage of life.
Itâ€™s why we have a guarantee of a childrenâ€™s centre in every community;
A guarantee of catch-up tuition, including one-to-one;
A guarantee of a personal tutor for all secondary school pupils;
A guarantee of education, training or an apprenticeship for all 16 and 17 years old;
And an historic commitment to raising the education leaving age to 18 – with the ambition that by the age of 30, three-quarters of young people will have undertaken higher education or secured an advanced technical qualification.
And why? Because by continuing with these guarantees, the proportion of low-income children achieving 5 good GCSEs could rise by around half between now and 2020; and the chances of low-income children getting a-level equivalent qualifications at 19 could almost double over the same time period. This will mean millions more able to secure skilled and middle or higher income jobs for the first time.
But while we – and those working in schools – are rightly proud of the measures we have taken so far, we cannot be satisfied. For we still do not yet have consistently world class standards in every school and every classroom.
Right across the world, there is an urgency and energy in education reform:
On average across the OECD university graduation rates have nearly doubled between 1995 and 2007. Finland and Australia now have graduation rates from tertiary education of around 50 per cent.
President Obama has just launched a $250 million public-private initiative to improve education in science, technology, engineering and maths.
And Kevin Rudd is reforming Australiaâ€™s schools system by allocating over half a billion dollars for improving teacher quality.
So for us to do even better we must do even more in a world where countries are constantly striving to drive up educational standards and where parents want the best possible education for their children.
We have before us a clear choice. On the one hand we can choose to follow those who would gamble with our childrens education – with a reckless free-market experiment that takes away the ladder of social mobility for all but the few, and – it would appear from recent experience in Sweden – leaves school standards going backwards.
Or we can take the next steps in our reforms, continuing to increase investment in our schools; delivering for the many not the few; offering a guarantee to parents of high quality schooling for their children; and following the practice of the best education systems around the world, offering education that is not just universal but also personal to every child; education that is in tune with the aspirations of modern families.
Our choice is clear. While we will take the difficult decisions in other areas needed to halve the deficit by 2014, we choose to protect spending on our schools. We will increase investment in our schools, not cut it.
And we choose a guarantee not a gamble with our childrens future.
We choose the path of world class education.
For the test of excellence is not just a test set in one country.
In the new global economy, the gold standard in education is international excellence.
Itâ€™s not only how our children perform in their A-levels this year compared with last year; itâ€™s how the skills and learning our children acquire here in Britain compare with the education other countries provide.
Whether our young people are staying in education to 18 and going on to university or acquiring skilled technical qualifications; whether as a country we consciously measure our performance against that of the worldâ€™s best.
So today I am setting a new objective to ensure our place in the global premier league: that by 2015, we will be in the top three in science and the top five in maths out of all OECD countries. We will systematically assess our performance against other countries, reporting annually on progress.
But one thing is clear: to achieve this level of ambition we must deliver a new wave of educational reforms in Britain. Reforms – being pioneered by Ed Balls – that are based on the three key factors that are proven internationally to secure world class learning.
First – the highest quality of teaching. In every leading education system in the world – the message is the same – the quality of an education system is only as good as the quality of its teachers.
Second – that each and every pupil is helped to achieve their full potential and none is left behind.
And third – cultivating a national pride in education – with a national purpose of continuous and sustained school improvement at every level.
Let me take each in turn.
First teacher quality. No-one forgets their teachers. I am sure you remember yours – those who most inspired you; those you didnâ€™t like; and those you most respected, whose words at a key moment in your life have stayed with you for life.
My first primary school teacher followed my progress through my school and university years and after I received my first degree she gave me her car – which because by then I was unable to drive I had to pass on to my brother.
Teaching is tough, I know. And it is also an immense responsibility. But as great teachers you shape and change lives. So many people I know have discovered their talent or developed a love of subject and chosen a degree or even an entire career because of an inspirational teacher: one whose passion and infectious enthusiasm quite literally changed the way they thought about their lives.
And so I want to go much further in raising the status of teaching and giving you the respect you deserve in our society.
The international evidence on teaching is clear. World class schools recruit the best; improve the best; and crucially respect the best.
And that is my mission: because nothing but the best teaching is good enough for our children.
Higher pay and policies like the Â£10,000 golden handcuff for teachers starting in the most challenging schools, have ensured that we are now recruiting some of the highest quality people into our schools. We have made teaching the number one graduate career of choice for young people – and our expansion of Teach First will ultimately bring into our most challenging schools as many as a thousand exceptional graduates every year.
And because recruiting the best is about more than simply a class of degree, but also about empathy, understanding, passion – those intangible qualities that define every great teacher – so we are now piloting a test to screen potential teachers for these wider qualities.
But recruiting the best must go hand-in-hand with improving the best. There is never any excuse for standing still. So we will make continuous improvement a defining feature of teaching in Britain, with a continuous drive to improve the standards of existing teachers right across the profession.
Teaching matters too much for us to ignore failures where they exist. So we will step up our demand for the highest of standards.
Every teacher will have to renew their licence to practice every five years. And this licence will act as a guarantor of quality, just as it does for doctors, and for lawyers – not just raising the professionalism of the wider teaching profession but also commanding the respect in our society that all teachers deserve.
And we are going further to raise the status of teaching in other ways too. That is why the new curriculum offers greater flexibility for teachers. We are putting funding for ongoing professional development in the hands of schools themselves. And we are making teaching a masters level profession, and ensuring continued learning and professional development for all teachers throughout their careers.
So we will recruit the best; improve the best and respect the best.
But let me be clear. There is no place for poor teachers in our schools. So where performance management shows teachers not to be up to standard their license to teach will not be renewed.
For we simply will not accept second best when it comes to the future of our children.
So teacher quality is the first priority for world class schools.
The second is access to universal but personalized learning where no pupil is allowed to fall behind, every pupil can discover and develop their talents, and there is a rich choice of subjects to suit each pupilâ€™s strengths.
One-to-one catch-up tuition has been a defining feature of our education reforms. Because we realise – as heads and teachers know – that additional help and support should be available for everyone who needs it, not just those who can pay for it.
We are building on the reforms to the curriculum that we have already made to enrich learning – ensuring that pupils gain, not just subject knowledge, but a desire to learn, the habits of curiosity and inquiry, and the strength of character that will equip them for a lifetime of learning.
And we are already introducing a personal tutor in secondary school to help ensure we respond to the personal needs of every pupil. All parents will get on-line information on the progress of their own childâ€™s education in different subjects.
And later this spring we also expect to have identified the one millionth gifted and talented pupil. Far from reducing support for gifted pupils as some have suggested, we will be improving it with a guarantee of a personalised package of support for all gifted and talented pupils.
But I want to go further. My ambition is for a schools system in which personalized learning, small group teaching and one-to-one provision is no longer the preserve of either the wealthiest few or those most in need – but a central part of the curriculum.
And that personalized education also means every child having access to a wide choice of subjects to suit their own needs from high quality vocational qualifications like our diplomas through to excellence in science, maths and foreign languages – including those of the emerging economies, like mandarin.
The third priority in world class schools is to increasingly cultivate that same sense of national pride in our education system that we have in our national health service. To forge a national purpose of sustained school improvement, not just a zero tolerance of failure – but systematic and decisive measures that respond to the wishes of parents and drive continuous improvement.
Of course we all accept that there should be no place in our country for schools that do not ensure every child reaches their full potential.
But there is a significant divergence of view over how to achieve this.
There are those who have quite rightly looked at international best practice around the world – but drawn – I believe – the wrong conclusions. Who have concluded that Britain should follow the Swedish model – allowing a market to develop in education – with voucher style approaches for parents to buy school places for their children.
But consider the implications of new schools and surplus places springing up unplanned wherever a group of parents or a sponsor came forward. Would these new schools be available for ordinary families – for the children who most need them?
If parents want to run schools then they should be able to do so – which is why it is under this government that we have seen the first parent promoted schools.
But the vast majority of parents donâ€™t want the burden of running their own school. They donâ€™t want to be expected to do it for themselves. They want world class teachers and school providers – the experts – to do it for them.
The head of the Swedish national agency for education – Swedenâ€™s Ofsted – confirms the reality of what has happened in Sweden with standards getting worse since the reforms came in. The stark fact is that Sweden has seen standards decline in the past ten years.
And the centre for economic performance at the London school of economics has recently argued that the Swedish schools model – if introduced here – would be expensive to implement, and would most likely fail to make real improvements in standards or offer real change in the choices available to the vast majority of parents.
A market free-for-all fails because as some schools go under slowly as competitors overtake them, so the children in those weaker schools are left behind. A whole generation staring at failure – waiting for the market to work.
And in the process some 4.5 billion pounds of capital spending would be diverted away from the refurbishment and improvement programÂ of around 360 existing schools across the country and up to an additional Â£1.8 billion on-going running costs would be needed over the first five years alone.
No-one has produced any evidence that allowing groups of parents to set up their own schools, outside the system but using up the national capital budget, will drive up standards across the system as a whole.
This approach would be an expensive and un-costed experiment and mean power for a few parents, not for the many. Opportunity for some children, not excellence for all.
This is not our way. Our reforms – by contrast – are about the aspirations of every child; and about making every school a great school. About guarantees that spread excellence universally not reforms which gamble with the future of our children.
And vital to our approach is robust intervention where schools do not make the grade on our new school report cards. So through proposals in the Children, Schools and Families Bill being debated in the house of commons today, the secretary of state will have the powers to direct a local authority to issue a warning notice to a school where pupil performance is unacceptably low; and to close a school where it fails to comply with such a warning notice.
We can not tolerate underperforming schools. And we do not need to.
Our national challenge shows just what is possible. In 1997 half of schools were below what we now consider the basic minimum standard. Now itâ€™s just one in twelve schools and weâ€™re track to get than down to zero by 2011. In London the gains have been particularly impressive. Hackney, the borough we are in today, has seen the largest improvement in secondary school standards of any local authority in the country since 1998.
And how has this transformation come about? Because national challenge capitalized on the skills and expertise of our best school leaders and teachers, backed it with additional investment and trusted them with the responsibility for achieving real change.
And it is because over the last decade – working with many of you here today – we have invested in dynamic, innovative leaders of schools, developed a cadre of national leaders of education and opened our schools up to the expertise of new providers in our academies and trust schools, that today we have a number of schools and chains of schools that are truly world leading – that are at the cutting edge of international practice delivering excellent results, outstanding learning and with a strong ethos of good behaviour.
With this excellence of school leadership, the innovation of new providers, and the daily minor miracles of great teachers in the classroom, we know we have within our grasp the expertise, the leadership and the vision that if shared with every school could offer every child the possibility of world class education.
The evidence is clear – schools often work best when they work together. When schools partner with other schools – operating under a common leadership brand, with a shared ethos, and a shared commitment to excellence – standards are raised for all; the stronger schools and the weaker schools.
So today I want to deepen and extend this approach, radically expanding the role of organizations that run groups of schools and have a proven track record of innovation and delivering high standards of education. These groups are often not-for profit organizations such as academy chains, faith groups and independent schools but they are also increasingly formed by excellent head teachers and national leaders of education in the maintained sector who have become executive heads of federations of neighboring schools.
In future we will designate these organizations as â€œaccredited schools groupsâ€, opening up our schools system to a new generation of school providers. We will bring into the heart of our education service organisations with the potential to become recognized and trusted brands that parents can be confident will have the world class excellence and passion to improve their childrens education.
For just as we do not tolerate failure – so no longer can we tolerate schools that settle for doing just enough to get above the minimum standards.
Every school should be continually striving to improve. Because if a school isnâ€™t striving to improve, itâ€™s coasting. And however good a schoolâ€™s performance, coasting is just not acceptable. Our children deserve better than that.
So today I want to set off a chain reaction in our schools with these recognized brands merging with or taking over our weaker and coasting schools. Taken together our reforms will raise standards in hundreds of schools, and benefit hundreds of thousands of children across the country.
Last year I announced that where parents are dissatisfied with the pattern of secondary school provision we will require the local authority to act.
But today I am announcing new measures to ensure that if parents are dissatisfied with a school they will have a new right to initiate change in the leadership of that school. Where a significant group of parents say they are dissatisfied with their school leadership, the local authority will have to ballot all parents of that school on whether they want to bring in one of the newly accredited, proven and trusted school providers.
Parents will have confidence that they can act to bring excellence to the school in which their children are educated.
This is not a charter for careless complaints. The vast majority of head teachers in this country do an excellent job. This is about the potential to further transform our school system, building on the strength of that leadership, as well as expertise from outside the education service.
Nor should we just leave it to parents to exercise this responsibility for continuous improvement. So we will encourage every school to consider voluntarily joining an accredited schools group. And we will use the school report card to monitor pupilsâ€™ progress and where there is evidence of coasting or under-performance for three years the local authority will be expected to intervene to bring about such a merger with one of these newly accredited brands of excellence.
And today I can announce the first six world leading organizations to be accredited.
â€¢ Barnfield College, a further education college already sponsoring two academies
â€¢ Outwood Grange
â€¢ The Kemnal Trust
â€¢ The Woodard corporation, a chain of independent schools
â€¢ Greenwood Dale foundation trust; and
â€¢ The Harris Federation of South London schools – one of our leading academy chains.
And in addition a further ten organizations have today been approved to take the initial step towards growing a new chain of schools. As accredited school providers, they will be able to take over and merge with up to 2 under-performing schools.
This expansion of chains has the potential to bring to every school and every pupil the world leading teaching, innovations and excellence of the best.
Take Outwood Grange where innovations include: whole subject immersion days, six-weekly reports to parents and 2 hours of professional development for all staff, including support staff every week.
Or consider the Harris brand with its strong ethos of discipline, its on-site television and radio studios, and its industry standard science labs.
Already the school groups and providers announced today are running 40 schools with plans to extend further. And this is just the first group to be accredited. Further accredited providers in this round will be announced next month. In total we think 200 schools currently meet the track record criteria for accreditation and this could rise to 500 by the end of the next parliament. We are already talking to many more great school leaders and more of the best academy chains and about becoming accredited. The potential here is enormous.
And none of this will be restricted to secondary schools only.
Over the past thirteen years, countless primary schools have been turned around, often against the odds. And so just as much as in the secondary system excellence is now widespread with world class head teachers and classroom teaching in our primaries.
And while, as here at Woodberry Down, federations are newer in primary schools, their potential to improve standards is no less potent; and no less important.
Because it is at primary school where we learn the basic skills on which we will depend not just at secondary school – but at every stage of life. If a primary school is not continually striving to improve; if itâ€™s not dedicated completely and utterly to developing the full potential of every child that comes through itâ€™s gates – it is holding back our children at one of the most critical stages of learning in their lives.
So today I can also announce that as with our reforms for secondary schools, we will accredit excellent providers and head teachers to develop chains which will become brands of excellence in the primary sector too.
As with secondary school, local authorities will be able to draw on the world class excellence in these new chains to drive up standards in weaker schools. And primary schools themselves will be able to opt to join a chain.
And for the first time, we will empower dissatisfied parents with a new right to initiate a change of leadership in their primary school, bringing in one of these newly accredited brands of world class excellence.
To facilitate this, we will ensure rapid expansion and development of accredited schools groups at primary level.
This will include accredited academies and other excellent secondary schools with primary expertise increasingly being able to take over one or more local feeder primary schools.
Local authorities are already identifying their most exceptional schools, schools which can take over underperforming schools near by. From later this year 150 such partnerships – led by accredited providers, with additional government funding – will be up and running.
So from the earliest stage, parents can have confidence that their school is being run to the highest standards.
Because for all the progress we have made, we can not and will not stand back and tolerate coasting or underperformance in any school in our country.
In the last thirteen years we have been in the business of transforming education in this country.
And itâ€™s only because of the measures we have taken over the past thirteen years; and the commitments we have made to guarantee aspiration and opportunity for all – that we can set out today a path to deliver in our country the world class education that every child and every family deserves.
Great teaching; personalised education; and an insatiable desire to continually drive up standards, with far more control for parents. These are the characteristics of the greatest schools. And they will become the characteristics of every primary and secondary school in our country.
For this is my defining vision and purpose in the next parliament. A twenty-first century world class approach to education. One which works with the excellence in the system, and seeks to use that to drive further improvements. One which builds on the professionalism of teachers and school leaders throughout the country. One which gives parents a strong voice and real power, but does not leave education to the mercy of the market. One which realizes the need for government to maintain minimum standards but hands responsibility to excellent schools and leaders wherever possible
For these are the lessons from all world class systems. And we can strive for nothing less.
Our choice is clear.
We choose guarantees not gambles with our childrens future.
We choose opportunity for all not privilege for a few.
We choose excellence in education and world class schools.
James Gordon Brown Speech On Education – LYBIO for James Gordon Brown Speech On Education. Complete Full Text, Quotes and Words By The Prime Minister at Woodberry Down Community Primary School in Hackney, London, on 23 February 2010.