Ruth Kelly and Tony Blair have committed themselves to reform of the education system, in this endeavor they have the cautious support of the Conservative party.
We have been advocating greater autonomy for head teachers and greater choice for parents for decades. At last the Labour front bench has woken up to the fact that these are not only fair and reasonable but effective.
The problem that they face is that their own backbenchers don’t like the increased freedoms for head teachers because they think that they might make the “wrong” choices, that is choices which don’t conform to their one size fits all mindset.
It is the same fear which drives them to oppose increased choice for parents. What is parents avoided the schools blinded by left wing dogma and opted for schools were more open minded and effective?
It now seems as if the Labour leadership is bowing to pressure from its own backbenches, something it chose not to do over the war in Iraq or over ID cards. This is despite knowing that the Conservatives would back bold and decisive change in the education system.
Either Blair and Kelly believe that their proposals are the right direction for our schools or they do not. If they do, then they should stand up to their backbenchers and force the changes through, if the do not do this then they will have failed on every level.
I find it deeply sad to think that Blair and Kelly would sacrifice the educational potential of millions of our children just to placate their own MPs. Having stood up to Labour left for so long now is not the time to crumble.