The other contentious (and rather more high profile) Commons vote this week is on the Education Bill. YouGov have carried out a poll of Labour party members asking their opinions of the proposals in the Bill, and their opinions seem to be closer to the Labour rebels than the Government.

Only 5% agree with the original contents of the Education Bill which proposed that all new schools would be foundation schools run by independent trusts, and the government’s compromise – that local authorities should still be able to set up community schools, but with the Secretary of State having the power of veto – is supported by only 25% of party members. 60% think that local authorities should be entirely free to set up new schools. 64% also believe that local authorites should have power over whether or not schools are allowed to expand.

Asked about foundation schools there is strong opposition to sponsors having too much influence over the schools they fund – 80% disagree that “it is reasonable that [external sponsors] have some influence over what children are taught there.” There is correspondending high level of support for local elected governors and elected parent governors on school governing bodies.

Finally, on admissions, the majority (56%) of Labour party members want responsibility for admissions to remain with local authorities, with 36% thinking that schools themselves should manage admissions under a code of practice enforcing equal access, and only 4% supporting giving schools complete freedom over admissions. On the 160 or so existing grammar schools, 51% of Labour party members think they too should be prevented from selecting by ability, although of those respondents, 79% think that other reforms are more urgent. Interestingly, 14% of Labour party members would like to see the government encourage more selective grammar schools.

(For analysis of the actual backbench rebellion, and no doubt the vote on docking dogs’ tails, see www.revolts.co.uk)


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