Kelly delivers party conference lesson on schools

Head teachers will be granted whatever extra powers they need to tackle bad behaviour in the classroom, the education secretary said this week.


Addressing the Labour Party Conference in Brighton, Ruth Kelly said: “If heads tell me that they need extra powers to maintain good discipline, I will not hesitate to grant them.”


Kelly added that parents had a duty to get their children to class every day and to give staff their backing when it came to tackling disruptive behaviour. In return, parents should be kept up to date with their children’s progress and be involved in deciding what extra help or challenges they might need, she said.


Refusing to backdown on proposals announced earlier this month to reduce to one year the amount of time failing schools had to turn themselves around, Kelly insisted it would be wrong to expect parents and pupils to wait any longer.


“Would you want your child to have to wait for two years, three years and more,” she asked delegates. “You wouldn’t. And we cannot expect other parents to wait either.”


Kelly also announced that, in the future, the new academies being built in deprived areas with donations from private sponsors would only be allowed to employ teachers registered with the General Teaching Council.


This would bring academies in line with other state schools, addressing some – although by no means all – of the criticisms targeted at the controversial new institutions.


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