Monday, 14 September 2009

Accountable to parents?

Devolution may mean different policies for different parts of Britain but UK-wide political parties tend to apply similar principles everywhere.

Well, they do sometimes. Was the scrapping of tests for primary school pupils in Wales (and replacement by internal teacher assessment) an example of "Welsh solutions for Welsh problems" or bad news for parents?

Here's Lord Mandelson's take on the issue, in an English context:"The test for political parties over the next few years is whether they can make the tough decisions that protect the frontline. It's clear from our plans to create real rights and guarantees in the NHS that we will do this. Why are the Tories so unwilling?Why do they want to scrap even the most basic guarantees?

"That is the question they must answer if anyone is to believe they are serious about protecting frontline services.In schools, the same principle is being applied where the Tories are proposing to drop the SATS test in the last year of primary school. Accountability to parents is to be sacrificed in favour of the producer interest. It’s part of the same unspoken pact."

Leaving aside advice on accountability from the unelected House of Lords, that may be a line to remember the next time Gordon Brown's cabinet drops by west of Offa's Dyke.

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