Commenting on the ‘Common Sense on Schools Policy’ launched by William Hague today, Michael Fabricant says: "This will go a long way to redress the balance whereby Staffordshire schools get far less money than those in most
other shire counties. Furthermore, parents in Kings Bromley, Burntwood and elsewhere will no longer have the mental anguish caused by the local education authority dictating where their children will go to school as has happened over recent months. The next Conservative Government will not just turn the tide but will defeat once and for all the attitudes that are holding back our education system by setting Britain’s schools free.
"Under ‘Free Schools’ money will go direct to the schools bypassing the local education authority and the unfair system of standard spending assessment. We will set teachers free from the enormous burdens of bureaucracy and government diktats to enable them to set their own discipline policies and drive up standards in education for all children.
"All schools will receive all their funding directly, rather than via a local education authority. This will mean that on average each pupil will receive around £540 per pupil so a £ spent on schools really means a £ spent in schools. Headteachers and governors will then be free to manage their own budgets, employ their own staff, and determine their own admissions policy. They will also be completely free to set and enforce their own standards of discipline without Government interference. For example, a school of 800 pupils in Lichfield would be, on average, better off by £432,000.
"Staffordshire LEA will cease to exist, although the Staffordshire County Council will still have a role in certain areas of education – which we expect will include educational welfare, special needs statementing, and ensuring every child in the Lichfield constituency gets an education.
"Parents as well will have far greater choice to apply to whichever school can best bring out the potential of their child. Government money will then follow the pupil, putting financial power behind parental accountability. The parents’ guarantee will provide parents with a means of changing the management of a bad school.
"By allowing good schools to expand or new ones to be created including new grammar schools and specialist schools we will increase diversity and drive up standards. There will be state run and state owned schools, privately run state owned schools and privately run privately owned schools. No longer will the County Council be able to dictate to parents in Kings Bromley or Burntwood which schools their children should be sent to. I believe that many local parents will be relieved to hear this news. They will now have the power to make the decisions best for their children.
"Tony Blair talked of ‘education, education, education’ and has delivered nothing, nothing , nothing. Before the last election, Labour promised to provide fair funding for Staffordshire in the first year of a Labour Government. We are still waiting."