UK & World News
Clegg Criticises Coalition Education Reforms
Nick Clegg will dramatically disown key parts of the coalition's education policy by attacking aspects of the Government's free schools policy this week.
The Deputy Prime Minister is to open dividing lines with the Tories by insisting all teachers should be qualified and the national curriculum should be taught in every school.
In the address at a London school on Tuesday, the Liberal Democrat leader will say: "What's the point of having a national curriculum if only a few schools have to teach it? Let's teach it in all our schools.
"And what's the point of having brilliant new food standards if only a few schools have to stick to the rules? Let's have quality food in all our schools.
"That's my philosophy. Diversity amongst schools, yes. But good universal standards all parents can rely on too.
"And, frankly, it makes no sense to me to have qualified teacher status if only a few schools have to employ qualified teachers."
Mr Clegg will also say: "I'm proud of our work over the last three years to increase school autonomy, which, in Government with the Conservatives, has been through the academies programme.
"And it is Lib Dem policy to give all schools, whether they are academies or not, those same freedoms to attract and reward excellent teaching, set their own term dates and vary their school day.
"We believe greater autonomy enables school leaders to take responsibility in those areas where they know what's best for their pupils, whilst also giving them the freedom to innovate.
"But it shouldn't surprise you if I say that, although we work well with the Conservatives, our two parties still have differences of opinion, some strongly held.
"Looking to the future, there are aspects of schools policy currently affected by the priorities of the Conservative Party which I would not want to see continue.
"For example, whilst I want to give schools the space to innovate, I also believe every parent needs reassurance that the school their child attends, whatever its title or structure, meets certain core standards of teaching and care. A parental guarantee, if you like."