Blake’s 14: bipartisan schools reform

John Rentoul

blakes7 300x225 Blakes 14: bipartisan schools reformI was intrigued by a line in Michael Gove’s speech to teachers and headteachers today:

I’m also an admirer of John Blake of Labour Teachers, who has transcended party politics to praise all schools which succeed for their pupils, even if they are academies or free schools…

I hadn’t come across Blake before, but I was sure that Gove’s praise had destroyed any chance he had had of persuading anyone in the Labour Party to reconsider their fixed positions. Which is a shame.

Blake’s post on Labour Teachers, “14 things Stephen Twigg could do“, is indeed a compendium of imaginative and forward-looking ideas. In particular, the idea that outstanding local authorities ought to be allowed to compete with academy chains to run new schools or take over failing ones.

The post has been received with the refusal to engage in the arguments that is customary, and Gove’s praise will have made matters worse.

Mind you, I don’t see what else Blake or Gove could do. Anti-left conservatism is so deeply held among Labour activists and self-styled left-wing teachers (the Venn diagram of the two groups is virtually a double circle) that I don’t see what can shift it.

Apart from keeping on with reform, school by school, until the forces of reaction are forced to concede.

Do read Blake’s “14 things” with an open mind.

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