Labour manifesto: Plans to let councils ‘run schools’ dropped

The Labour party has dropped official plans to let councils “open schools”, instead stating it will “oppose any attempt to force schools to become academies” if the party should take power.

Schools Week previously revealed how Labour’s draft manifesto included a pledge to allow local authorities to open schools.

It backed up a previous promise by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who also said town halls would be able to manage the schools and takeover academies.

But the party’s final manifesto, published today, makes no mention of those proposals. Instead, the party states it will “ensure all schools are democratically accountable”.

The manifesto states this will include “appropriate controls to see that they serve the public interest and their local communities”.

No further details are given of how this will be achieved.

The omission places a question mark over Labour’s official stance on academies.

The manifesto does state a Labour government would “oppose any attempt to force schools to become academies” but, again, does not provide details of how this would happen.

At present, the government is compelled to make any failing maintained school into an academy.

The manifesto also states the party will not “waste money on inefficient free schools” and the Conservatives’ “grammar schools vanity project” but falls short of saying any existing free schools or grammar schools would be closed.

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  1. Mark Watson

    Too right it places a question mark over Labour’s position on academies.
    According to the manifesto, Labour won’t have a problem with all schools in England becoming academies as long as none of them are ‘forced’ to become academies. This is a bit weaselly in itself – at some point in the future if an LEA has got to the point where so many of its schools have converted that it no longer has the resources to support the remaining schools then even if technically no-one is forcing those schools to convert it will be their only practical option.
    On free schools they’ve also left the door wide open. They “will not waste money on inefficient free schools” – this could mean they would be happy to spend money on free schools as long as it was efficient.
    So much for making their position clear.