New Schools Network

Oral Answers to Questions — Education – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 11th October 2010.

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Photo of Lisa Nandy Lisa Nandy Labour, Wigan 2:30 pm, 11th October 2010

What arrangements his Department has made with the New Schools Network to provide a framework for the provision of services by the network on his Department's behalf.

Photo of Michael Gove Michael Gove The Secretary of State for Education

The Department is working with the New Schools Network to finalise the specifics of the grant agreement in line with the activities and key performance indicators. Those have already been outlined in broad terms in the letter of 18 June from my Department to the New Schools Network.

Photo of Lisa Nandy Lisa Nandy Labour, Wigan

Does the Secretary of State understand the concern surrounding the level of transparency in the role of the New Schools Network? In particular, how can he be satisfied that there will be no conflict of interest between its role in providing advice to groups seeking to set up new schools and its other, undisclosed financial donors?

Photo of Michael Gove Michael Gove The Secretary of State for Education

I am reassured by the fact that the New Schools Network has as its chairman the former editor of the Financial Times, who employed Ed Balls before he became such a distinguished Member of Parliament. I am also reassured by the fact that among its advisers are Professor Julian Le Grand, who was an adviser to the former Prime Minister, and Sally Morgan, who was political secretary to the former Prime Minister. Those three distinguished figures, along with many others who support the New Schools Network, seem to be the sort of talented figures whom we should be encouraging to play a bigger role in state education, rather than, as was the case in the Brown years, saying to them that they are not wanted when it comes to improving education for the very poorest.