The buck must stop with Balls

Michael Gove, Shadow Secretary for Children, School and Families, writes a spirited piece in the Telegraph today, laying out why Ed Balls must take responsibility for the Government's numerous educational blunders: Ed Balls is to blame for the sixth form funding shambles

Shielding himself from accountability behind a web of quangos, while willfully jeopardizing the futures of thousands of children in his pursuit of power and his interest in political point scoring, Ed Balls represents the worst kind of politician, let alone minister.

Rewarded for his sycophancy with one of - if not the - most important departments in Government, Balls' has chosen to perceive any criticism of English state education as a party political attack, rebutting it as such, and considering his clever rebuttal as a resolution of the problem. As to policy, talk and money have been very cheap up until recently, and education policy has often been nothing but a marriage of the two; lofty promise with millions of pounds attached.

The problems bedeviling the system require real reform though, and reform takes guts and willing. But at least the solutions are right there for politicians to see, not just abroad, but in our own country, where hundreds of schools continue to do well in spite of the strictures placed upon them by Whitehall. Let us hope that the next government accepts the simple truths in front of them, and in particular the insight that with greater independence from Government come better school results, and more importantly (although harder to measure) better education. This is not about teachers or schools, pupils or playgrounds, but about a system unable to embrace examples of best practice because of the political motivations of the controlling department. It is a system which Mr Balls personifies.

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