Schools warned over uniform costs

Schools have a "moral responsibility" to keep the cost of pupils' uniform down, council leaders warned today.

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Tristam Hunt's 'regret' over free school comments

Labour's new shadow education secretary has expressed regret for dismissing the Conservatives' flagship free schools policy as a "vanity project for yummy mummies".

Tristram Hunt confirmed that a Labour government would not close down any of the free schools established under the reforms pioneered by Education Secretary Michael Gove. In an interview with the Mail on Sunday, he said:

I regret those comments because I think any parents, be they yummy mummies or faddy daddies, involved in the education of their children is great.

I am putting rocket boosters on getting behind parents and social entrepreneurs.

Labour 'behind' Gove's flagship free schools

Labour is "not in the business of taking free schools down, the newly appointed shadow education secretary has said today, after he signalled that the party would drop its opposition to the Conservatives' flagship free schools.

Tristam Hunt told the Mail on Sunday:

We are not going to go back to the old days of the local authority running all the schools - they will not be in charge.

We will keep those free schools going. We aren't in the business of taking them down. We have to clear up this question which has dogged Labour education policy since we entered opposition and since Michael Gove began his reforms, as to what we'd do. We just want to say, 'You are setting up these schools, we are behind you'.

Read more: Labour 'will not close down free schools'

Labour 'will not close down free schools'

Labour has dropped its opposition to the Conservatives' free schools policy, the new shadow education secretary, Tristram Hunt has signalled.

New shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt Credit: PA Wire

The TV historian, who was among the big winners in Ed Miliband's shadow cabinet reshuffle, confirmed that a Labour government would not close down any of the free schools established under the reforms pioneered by Education Secretary Michael Gove.

According to the Mail on Sunday, he said the party would be coming forward with its own version of the scheme - which enables groups of parents and other organisations to set up schools outside local authority control - to be called parent-led academies (PLAs).

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Authors condemn Gove's education reforms

Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy has joined leading academics and children's authors in condemning Education Secretary Michael Gove's policies as being harmful to children.

A total of 198 people, including Children's Laureate Malorie Blackman, said they are "gravely concerned" by new policies in state education and have called for the reforms, affecting the national curriculum and exams, to be halted.

Pupils sitting an exam in a school hall.
The group has called for reforms affecting the national curriculum and exams to be halted. Credit: Press Association

Their letter, published in The Times (£), comes as Mr Gove prepares to address the Conservative Party conference in Manchester.

"These damaging developments must stop," they wrote. "If they go ahead there will be devastating consequences for children's mental health, for future opportunities and, most importantly, for the quality of childhood itself."

Schools set to be allowed to decide term dates

The traditional six week summer holiday could soon be a thing of the past with state schools set to be given permission to set their own term times.

Local councils will no longer have the authority to tell their schools when terms should start and end, ministers have announced.

The move, which if passed in the new Deregulation Bill would come into effect in September 2015, will allow local-authority schools to cut school holidays and introduce longer terms.

Michael Gove has previously called for longer school days and term times, warning that the current system is out of date. Credit: Barry Batchelor/PA Wire

Academies and free schools - who are not under council control - are already allowed to determine their own term dates.

The Education Secretary Michael Gove has previously called for longer school days and term times, warning that the current system is out of date.

The decision is likely to face opposition from teaching unions who already argue that teachers and pupils spend long hours in the classroom.

Govt sticks to pledge of protecting school funding

File photo of a pupil after a GCSE English exam. Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

The Chancellor said that the Education Department’s overall budget will increase to £53 billion and that "schools spending will be protected in real terms".

He also announced an "unprecedented increase in the number of Free Schools" by providing funding for 180 new free schools in 2015/16.

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