THE two education White Papers published this spring will bring about fundamental changes both to the schools system and to higher education, contributors to this issue of the Church Times predict.
Writing in the education pages, Baroness Morris of Yardley, a former Secretary of State for Education, predicts that, in contrast to many previous education White Papers, the latest, published in March, sets out “a template that will be with us for many decades to come”.
Higher standards in schools have come at the expense of a loss of “the glue that hold schools together a part pf a system”, she writes, arguing for the maintenance of existing school collaborations and networks. Church schools have a distinct advantage as part of a family of schools with shared values, Lady Morris says.
A leading local government spokesman on education, Roger Gough, draws attention to the proposed run-down of local authorities’ powers in relation to schools. Their remaining responsibilities, must be adequately funded, he writes: “It is in no one’s interest, and certainly not those of schools, for the functions that remain with local authorities to be underfunded or curtailed for ideological reasons.”
The chairman of the DDEs’ association, Alex Tear, warns the Church that if it doesn’t provide realistic funding for schools, many of them could be lost to other providers.
In his comment article on the higher-education White Paper Success as a Knowledge Economy, published in May, the Revd Dr John Gay, warns of the potential “bear trap” it contains for church universities.
Universities will no longer need the consent of the Privy Council to change their foundation documents, he writes.