Education and Health

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Prime Minister – in the House of Commons at 4:31 pm on 2nd June 2010.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Michael Gove Michael Gove The Secretary of State for Education 4:31 pm, 2nd June 2010

Once again, my hon. Friend makes the sort of constructive contribution that I know will make our encounters over the next few years things to cherish. I say to him that it is across the board, whether under Conservative, Liberal Democrat or Labour-led local authorities, that schools want to embrace freedom. Many of them want to do so, not because they resent or are critical of local authorities, but because they relish the additional autonomy and freedom to disapply parts of the national curriculum, and because they want to work in partnership with existing schools. I want to encourage that sort of partnership, between our two parties and between academies and local authority schools. That is why I have requested that every outstanding school that acquires academy status takes with it an underperforming school on its journey, so that the process of collaboration, with the best head teachers driving improvement, continues, and so that schools can use academy freedom and head teachers can use additional powers to ensure that every child benefits.

In addition to asking that of outstanding schools, we will ensure that the academies programme delivers faster and deeper improvements in deprived and disadvantaged areas. Many more of our weakest schools will be placed in the hands of organisations such as ARK, the Harris Foundation and other academy sponsors best placed to drive improvement. We will also ensure that parents have more information about all schools, so that pressure grows on schools that are coasting to improve, and work in partnership with local government, from Essex to Cumbria, empowering strong local authorities to continue to drive improvement. Most importantly, as I have pointed out, we will target resources on the poorest. Our pupil premium will mean taking money from outside the schools budget to ensure that those teaching the children most in need get the resources to deliver smaller class sizes, more one-to-one or small group tuition, longer school days and more extracurricular activities.