Council leader challenges education secretary over Lancashire's 'failing' primary schools

Lancashire Telegraph: Education secretary Michael Gove Education secretary Michael Gove

A LANCASHIRE County Council leader has stepped into the political firing line by refuting Lancashire’s ‘failing’ education system.

He and union bosses believe schools are being bullied into becoming academies to meet the government’s agenda.

But some MPs believe the radical change is needed to improve education standards for primary school children.

A letter from Education Secretary Michael Gove to all MPs in the Lancashire County Council area calling for urgent action for failing schools was sent out this week.

He said he believes academies are the only route to raise standards.

Lancashire County Council’s Conservative leader Geoff Driver has opposed the government’s plans.

He said: “I simply do not recognise Mr Gove's description of Lancashire schools - it is not accurate in any sense.

“Far from 'underperforming', Lancashire schools consistently perform better than the national average and improve year on year.

"We recognise that the government is keen to roll out its academy programme at a faster pace and is perhaps frustrated by the low numbers in Lancashire of schools wishing to convert to academy status.

“Our view remains that the decision to move to academy status should be left to school governors and staff.

"But the proof of the success of the partnership between Lancashire's schools and the county council is amply demonstrated by the fact that nearly three quarters of the county's schools are rated good or outstanding by Ofsted."

Les Turner, NAHT, said the move has taken ‘tremendous’ courage to speak up.

“He has potentially ended his political career because he is putting Lancashire children and local schools first.

“Gove has staked his political reputation on turning schools into academies. At this moment in time Lancashire schools are being treated like pawns in a political game.”

He said there were almost 500 primary schools in Lancashire, and only four chose to become academies, adding that some have since been ‘bribed, bullied and blackmailed’ into becoming academies.

However Pendle MP, Andrew Stephenson, said he supports Mr Gove and believes radical changes are needed.

He said: “There has to be some way of breaking the cycle of under performance of these failing schools.

“Rather than shut schools, this is a radical way of trying to raise standards.”

Comments (15)

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1:58pm Sat 24 Nov 12

louderfasterlonger says...

It certainly has taken tremendous courage to oppose his own Party Whip. Lancashire has some of the most deprived areas in the country yet the performance of schools rise year on year by the dedication of County officials and the teaching staff.
The challenges faced by Head Teachers continues as more children are placed in main-stream education and more and more children are faced with poverty and deprived conditions at home.
It is the Governments Social Policy that needs to improve to raise standards in education.
It certainly has taken tremendous courage to oppose his own Party Whip. Lancashire has some of the most deprived areas in the country yet the performance of schools rise year on year by the dedication of County officials and the teaching staff. The challenges faced by Head Teachers continues as more children are placed in main-stream education and more and more children are faced with poverty and deprived conditions at home. It is the Governments Social Policy that needs to improve to raise standards in education. louderfasterlonger

2:47pm Sat 24 Nov 12

rilistic says...

Well done Geoff Driver. Lancashire's interests before Party Politics - that's what we want from our Council Leader. I suppose we should expect him to have some bottle - he is an East Lancs lad.
Well done Geoff Driver. Lancashire's interests before Party Politics - that's what we want from our Council Leader. I suppose we should expect him to have some bottle - he is an East Lancs lad. rilistic

4:49pm Sat 24 Nov 12

Rumpole says...

Sajdin wrote:
shytalk wrote:
Many primary schools might be able to do better if pupils were able to speak some english..
Wow, you such a closed minded individual. Grow up.
I blame the parents for not teaching, or not being able to teach, their kids English!
[quote][p][bold]Sajdin[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]shytalk[/bold] wrote: Many primary schools might be able to do better if pupils were able to speak some english..[/p][/quote]Wow, you such a closed minded individual. Grow up.[/p][/quote]I blame the parents for not teaching, or not being able to teach, their kids English! Rumpole

4:53pm Sat 24 Nov 12

mavrick says...

Far from being a brave move it is political gesturing at it' worst. The government will do whatever it decides, the remonstrations of a county council leader won't make a blind bit of difference. I see the ladder climber from Pendle supports the government, no surprise there. I am afraid the pawns will be sacrificed.
Far from being a brave move it is political gesturing at it' worst. The government will do whatever it decides, the remonstrations of a county council leader won't make a blind bit of difference. I see the ladder climber from Pendle supports the government, no surprise there. I am afraid the pawns will be sacrificed. mavrick

5:45pm Sat 24 Nov 12

rilistic says...

Let's wait and see mavrick - Geoff Driver sounded pretty determined to me on NW Tonight and Radio Lancashire yesterday. If he wins, or goes down fighting, will you then say well done or are you just dead against all Tories whatever they do?
Let's wait and see mavrick - Geoff Driver sounded pretty determined to me on NW Tonight and Radio Lancashire yesterday. If he wins, or goes down fighting, will you then say well done or are you just dead against all Tories whatever they do? rilistic

6:11pm Sat 24 Nov 12

Sajdin says...

Rumpole wrote:
Sajdin wrote:
shytalk wrote:
Many primary schools might be able to do better if pupils were able to speak some english..
Wow, you such a closed minded individual. Grow up.
I blame the parents for not teaching, or not being able to teach, their kids English!
That I agree with !
[quote][p][bold]Rumpole[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Sajdin[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]shytalk[/bold] wrote: Many primary schools might be able to do better if pupils were able to speak some english..[/p][/quote]Wow, you such a closed minded individual. Grow up.[/p][/quote]I blame the parents for not teaching, or not being able to teach, their kids English![/p][/quote]That I agree with ! Sajdin

6:22pm Sat 24 Nov 12

ganja man says...

This must be a first! I actually agree with Andrew Stephenson on this issue that RADICAL changes are needed.
For far too long the poor working class children have received a sub standard education. This has been in part to schools within working class neighbourhoods mostly atttracting:-
1) Poor quality teachers
2) Poor headteachers
3) Poor quality governors
4) Poor support from local councillors

Too often the headteachers of schools have failed in their duties to raise standards through inadequate and poor governance which is a sad reflection of the people who sit on governing bodies for ALL the wrong reasons. All these issues need to be tackled BEFORE we see an improvement in standards. Gove has suggested a speeding up of the process to sack incompetent teachers which has been long overdue for 50 years almost!
Local councillors have failed in their duties of "corporate parent". schools have not been held to account by local councillors as well as county councillors who have failed in their duties on far too many ocassions.
Some schools in Nelson have not raised standards in over 10 years. As a result hundreds of children have been given an inadequate education which will decrease their life chances dramatically.
Walter St to be turned into an Academy
Walverden School should have been turned into an Academy as should Marsden School.
These schools need radical change and i hope that radical proposals are taken as promised.
This must be a first! I actually agree with Andrew Stephenson on this issue that RADICAL changes are needed. For far too long the poor working class children have received a sub standard education. This has been in part to schools within working class neighbourhoods mostly atttracting:- 1) Poor quality teachers 2) Poor headteachers 3) Poor quality governors 4) Poor support from local councillors Too often the headteachers of schools have failed in their duties to raise standards through inadequate and poor governance which is a sad reflection of the people who sit on governing bodies for ALL the wrong reasons. All these issues need to be tackled BEFORE we see an improvement in standards. Gove has suggested a speeding up of the process to sack incompetent teachers which has been long overdue for 50 years almost! Local councillors have failed in their duties of "corporate parent". schools have not been held to account by local councillors as well as county councillors who have failed in their duties on far too many ocassions. Some schools in Nelson have not raised standards in over 10 years. As a result hundreds of children have been given an inadequate education which will decrease their life chances dramatically. Walter St to be turned into an Academy Walverden School should have been turned into an Academy as should Marsden School. These schools need radical change and i hope that radical proposals are taken as promised. ganja man

10:03pm Sat 24 Nov 12

rilistic says...

What a load of rubbish gm - have you been smoking extra strong?
What a load of rubbish gm - have you been smoking extra strong? rilistic

9:07am Sun 25 Nov 12

Tomiet says...

ganja man wrote:
This must be a first! I actually agree with Andrew Stephenson on this issue that RADICAL changes are needed.
For far too long the poor working class children have received a sub standard education. This has been in part to schools within working class neighbourhoods mostly atttracting:-
1) Poor quality teachers
2) Poor headteachers
3) Poor quality governors
4) Poor support from local councillors

Too often the headteachers of schools have failed in their duties to raise standards through inadequate and poor governance which is a sad reflection of the people who sit on governing bodies for ALL the wrong reasons. All these issues need to be tackled BEFORE we see an improvement in standards. Gove has suggested a speeding up of the process to sack incompetent teachers which has been long overdue for 50 years almost!
Local councillors have failed in their duties of "corporate parent". schools have not been held to account by local councillors as well as county councillors who have failed in their duties on far too many ocassions.
Some schools in Nelson have not raised standards in over 10 years. As a result hundreds of children have been given an inadequate education which will decrease their life chances dramatically.
Walter St to be turned into an Academy
Walverden School should have been turned into an Academy as should Marsden School.
These schools need radical change and i hope that radical proposals are taken as promised.
Interesting that you convenientlly mention the major cause of the poor progress of many of these children - very poor parenting!
[quote][p][bold]ganja man[/bold] wrote: This must be a first! I actually agree with Andrew Stephenson on this issue that RADICAL changes are needed. For far too long the poor working class children have received a sub standard education. This has been in part to schools within working class neighbourhoods mostly atttracting:- 1) Poor quality teachers 2) Poor headteachers 3) Poor quality governors 4) Poor support from local councillors Too often the headteachers of schools have failed in their duties to raise standards through inadequate and poor governance which is a sad reflection of the people who sit on governing bodies for ALL the wrong reasons. All these issues need to be tackled BEFORE we see an improvement in standards. Gove has suggested a speeding up of the process to sack incompetent teachers which has been long overdue for 50 years almost! Local councillors have failed in their duties of "corporate parent". schools have not been held to account by local councillors as well as county councillors who have failed in their duties on far too many ocassions. Some schools in Nelson have not raised standards in over 10 years. As a result hundreds of children have been given an inadequate education which will decrease their life chances dramatically. Walter St to be turned into an Academy Walverden School should have been turned into an Academy as should Marsden School. These schools need radical change and i hope that radical proposals are taken as promised.[/p][/quote]Interesting that you convenientlly mention the major cause of the poor progress of many of these children - very poor parenting! Tomiet

10:36am Sun 25 Nov 12

Izanears says...

ganja man wrote:
This must be a first! I actually agree with Andrew Stephenson on this issue that RADICAL changes are needed.
For far too long the poor working class children have received a sub standard education. This has been in part to schools within working class neighbourhoods mostly atttracting:-
1) Poor quality teachers
2) Poor headteachers
3) Poor quality governors
4) Poor support from local councillors

Too often the headteachers of schools have failed in their duties to raise standards through inadequate and poor governance which is a sad reflection of the people who sit on governing bodies for ALL the wrong reasons. All these issues need to be tackled BEFORE we see an improvement in standards. Gove has suggested a speeding up of the process to sack incompetent teachers which has been long overdue for 50 years almost!
Local councillors have failed in their duties of "corporate parent". schools have not been held to account by local councillors as well as county councillors who have failed in their duties on far too many ocassions.
Some schools in Nelson have not raised standards in over 10 years. As a result hundreds of children have been given an inadequate education which will decrease their life chances dramatically.
Walter St to be turned into an Academy
Walverden School should have been turned into an Academy as should Marsden School.
These schools need radical change and i hope that radical proposals are taken as promised.
1) Poor quality teachers 2) Poor headteachers 3) Poor quality governors 4) Poor support from local councillors .
How about adding Poor support from parents. Many of whom insist on not speaking English when at home.
[quote][p][bold]ganja man[/bold] wrote: This must be a first! I actually agree with Andrew Stephenson on this issue that RADICAL changes are needed. For far too long the poor working class children have received a sub standard education. This has been in part to schools within working class neighbourhoods mostly atttracting:- 1) Poor quality teachers 2) Poor headteachers 3) Poor quality governors 4) Poor support from local councillors Too often the headteachers of schools have failed in their duties to raise standards through inadequate and poor governance which is a sad reflection of the people who sit on governing bodies for ALL the wrong reasons. All these issues need to be tackled BEFORE we see an improvement in standards. Gove has suggested a speeding up of the process to sack incompetent teachers which has been long overdue for 50 years almost! Local councillors have failed in their duties of "corporate parent". schools have not been held to account by local councillors as well as county councillors who have failed in their duties on far too many ocassions. Some schools in Nelson have not raised standards in over 10 years. As a result hundreds of children have been given an inadequate education which will decrease their life chances dramatically. Walter St to be turned into an Academy Walverden School should have been turned into an Academy as should Marsden School. These schools need radical change and i hope that radical proposals are taken as promised.[/p][/quote]1) Poor quality teachers 2) Poor headteachers 3) Poor quality governors 4) Poor support from local councillors . How about adding Poor support from parents. Many of whom insist on not speaking English when at home. Izanears

11:26am Sun 25 Nov 12

mavrick says...

rilistic wrote:
Let's wait and see mavrick - Geoff Driver sounded pretty determined to me on NW Tonight and Radio Lancashire yesterday. If he wins, or goes down fighting, will you then say well done or are you just dead against all Tories whatever they do?
rillistic, wake up and smell the coffee, Geoff driver knows what is going to happen, he is simply distancing himself from the government, so he can say he spoke up for the schools. As for being against all Tories whatever they do, I suggest you tell me something they have done to help ordinary people, Then have a look at how they have looked after their rich friends.
[quote][p][bold]rilistic[/bold] wrote: Let's wait and see mavrick - Geoff Driver sounded pretty determined to me on NW Tonight and Radio Lancashire yesterday. If he wins, or goes down fighting, will you then say well done or are you just dead against all Tories whatever they do?[/p][/quote]rillistic, wake up and smell the coffee, Geoff driver knows what is going to happen, he is simply distancing himself from the government, so he can say he spoke up for the schools. As for being against all Tories whatever they do, I suggest you tell me something they have done to help ordinary people, Then have a look at how they have looked after their rich friends. mavrick

12:14pm Sun 25 Nov 12

ganja man says...

A great number of people on here are either deluded or falling for the mantra of the "teaching and chattering class".
Independent research has shown that where poor children from very deprived backgrounds( according to the various Indices of Deprivation) are provided with GOOD QUALITY teaching then the educational outcomes, ie results are improved and children do well. This is NOT dependent on the quality of the parent who could be the worst parents imaginable.
Gove has latched on to this and will take RADICAL steps to recruit over 5000 high flying top graduates from the likes of Cambridge and Oxford University and other leading universities to teaching in the MOST challenging schools in the most deprived areas to provide the GOOD QUALITY teachers who WILL improves the educational outcomes and life chances for these poor children irrespective of their family backgrounds.
These top teachers are recruited from a pool of TOP CLASS graduates who undergo ASSESSMENT and ONLY 12% are chosen!
If that was applied for the teachers we have in primary schools locally then there would be a great deal of people signing on for JSA! On the positive only people who are very good would enter teaching resulting in much better results from the excellent teaching offered.
As for teachers and chairs of governors of local schools it is easy to "scapegoat the poor parents" when in reality the evidence is that good quality teaching from well led and managed schools are the best way in which to improve educational outcomes.
TOO MANY white working class boys have been failed by the schools. This is a fact.
As for "rilistic" put that in your pipe and smoke it!!
A great number of people on here are either deluded or falling for the mantra of the "teaching and chattering class". Independent research has shown that where poor children from very deprived backgrounds( according to the various Indices of Deprivation) are provided with GOOD QUALITY teaching then the educational outcomes, ie results are improved and children do well. This is NOT dependent on the quality of the parent who could be the worst parents imaginable. Gove has latched on to this and will take RADICAL steps to recruit over 5000 high flying top graduates from the likes of Cambridge and Oxford University and other leading universities to teaching in the MOST challenging schools in the most deprived areas to provide the GOOD QUALITY teachers who WILL improves the educational outcomes and life chances for these poor children irrespective of their family backgrounds. These top teachers are recruited from a pool of TOP CLASS graduates who undergo ASSESSMENT and ONLY 12% are chosen! If that was applied for the teachers we have in primary schools locally then there would be a great deal of people signing on for JSA! On the positive only people who are very good would enter teaching resulting in much better results from the excellent teaching offered. As for teachers and chairs of governors of local schools it is easy to "scapegoat the poor parents" when in reality the evidence is that good quality teaching from well led and managed schools are the best way in which to improve educational outcomes. TOO MANY white working class boys have been failed by the schools. This is a fact. As for "rilistic" put that in your pipe and smoke it!! ganja man

2:19pm Sun 25 Nov 12

rilistic says...

How sad and narrow minded you are mavrick - let's wait and see what Geoff Driver does. Too deep for me gm - you must be on really strong stuff
How sad and narrow minded you are mavrick - let's wait and see what Geoff Driver does. Too deep for me gm - you must be on really strong stuff rilistic

5:41pm Sun 25 Nov 12

Sister Wendy says...

'RADICAL steps to recruit over 5000 high flying top graduates from the likes of Cambridge and Oxford University and other leading universities to teaching in the MOST challenging schools in the most deprived areas to provide the GOOD QUALITY teachers who WILL improves the educational outcomes and life chances for these poor children irrespective of their family backgrounds.'
First point - I think you mean 'improve' not 'improves'.
Second point - I had a 'high flying, top graduate from a top university, training to be a teacher in my class...extremely well spoken, first class degree and from a good and very privileged background, however when it came to teaching, the student definitely lacked both ability and basic knowledge & understanding of the primary curriculum...needles
s to say, I failed the 'high flying, top graduate'! Just goes to show, a 'high flying, top graduate' will not necessarily make a good teacher!!!
'RADICAL steps to recruit over 5000 high flying top graduates from the likes of Cambridge and Oxford University and other leading universities to teaching in the MOST challenging schools in the most deprived areas to provide the GOOD QUALITY teachers who WILL improves the educational outcomes and life chances for these poor children irrespective of their family backgrounds.' First point - I think you mean 'improve' not 'improves'. Second point - I had a 'high flying, top graduate from a top university, training to be a teacher in my class...extremely well spoken, first class degree and from a good and very privileged background, however when it came to teaching, the student definitely lacked both ability and basic knowledge & understanding of the primary curriculum...needles s to say, I failed the 'high flying, top graduate'! Just goes to show, a 'high flying, top graduate' will not necessarily make a good teacher!!! Sister Wendy

7:31pm Sun 25 Nov 12

lwg76 says...

Mr Driver says
"But the proof of the success of the partnership between Lancashire's schools and the county council is amply demonstrated by the fact that nearly three quarters of the county's schools are rated good or outstanding by Ofsted."

Good, But what about the other quarter, or nearly a third, that aren't. What have the unions and council done for and will do for these other schools apart from whinging about what the Government may do. If the Council and Unions can turn these schools around, stop whining to the press and get on with it. Do something positive about improving these schools.
Mr Driver says "But the proof of the success of the partnership between Lancashire's schools and the county council is amply demonstrated by the fact that nearly three quarters of the county's schools are rated good or outstanding by Ofsted." Good, But what about the other quarter, or nearly a third, that aren't. What have the unions and council done for and will do for these other schools apart from whinging about what the Government may do. If the Council and Unions can turn these schools around, stop whining to the press and get on with it. Do something positive about improving these schools. lwg76

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