» Friday, February 3, 2006


Asked if the Prime Minister was glad that John Prescott had finally seen the light on education reforms, the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman (PMOS) complimented the journalist on her objective and neutral phrasing of the question. He said that the best thing would be to wait for the Deputy Prime Minister to deliver the speech and let the speech speak for itself.

Asked if the Prime Minister knew what was in the speech, the PMOS said that the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister spoke frequently, but it was very much John Prescott’s speech. Asked whether John Prescott or the Prime Minister had compromised on their views concerning education, the PMOS said that he knew it was deeply unfashionable these days but it was still best to let speeches take place and then let people speculate about them, rather than the other way round.

Asked about some of the changes that might be made to the forthcoming education bill and whether the Government was now in retreat on this issue, the PMOS said that, as he had said last week, that there were two key principles. Those two key principles, which were firmly supported by the Select Committee, were firstly supporting the growth of independent trust schools because it had been shown over the last five years that they improved schools’ performance, and secondly developing a strategic role for the Local Education Authorities. Those were the two key planks of the government’s approach and had been throughout. In terms of the detail, the best thing to do was to wait for the Bill.

Asked if the Bill would keep the principle of allowing good schools to expand, the PMOS said that what was important was that the Select Committee and the Government’s approach had always recognised that what worked was to give greater independence to schools to develop their own ethos. In terms of how that had worked out, if you looked at the record of specialist schools, it spoke for itself.

Briefing took place at 15:00 | Search for related news

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