Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Archive
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Tuesday, October 5, 1999 Published at 11:06 GMT 12:06 UK


Education

Tories call for schools' right to expel

Theresa May: "Discipline is essential"

Schools would be free to expel pupils as they wanted under a Conservative government, the shadow education secretary has declared.

Conference99
Speaking at the Conservative party conference in Blackpool on Tuesday, Theresa May called for the scrapping of government targets to cut the number of school exclusions.

"Discipline is essential to high standards. We will allow heads to decide what are suitable criteria for exclusion. If a head wants to exercise zero tolerance on drugs, let them do it," she said.

Ms May was also dismissive of Labour's plans to increase fines for the parents of children who play truant.


Theresa May: "No longer will parents feel frustrated that they are not able to do anything about low standards"
"It is far better to look to get children back into the classroom," she said, adding that a Conservative government would consider how the curriculum for 14 to 16-year-olds could be used to engage pupils and get them interested in education, keeping them off the streets.

Ms May's speech followed the emphasis on education in a raft of new Conservative policies unveiled by party leader William Hague at the start of the conference on Monday.

'Bonfire of controls'

The Tories' proposals on education include giving parents the power to instigate the sacking of headteachers of failing schools, and a plan to make all schools "free schools", released from local education authority control.


[ image: Could altering the curriculum stop pupils from playing truant?]
Could altering the curriculum stop pupils from playing truant?
The party also wants to establish new units outside schools to take excluded pupils and "encourage" them to improve their behaviour.

Ms May echoed much of what Mr Hague had said the previous day, expanding on some of the key ideas contained in the proposals.

She said the Tories were planning a "bonfire of controls" which would let decisions about teaching be made in the classroom and not Whitehall.

"We believe that heads, teachers and governors know what is best for their pupils and their schools, that local needs are best addressed by local decisions," she said.

"We must get decisions about teaching in our classrooms out of Whitehall and into the classroom.

"As Conservatives we believe in freedom - freedom for people to make choices over their own lives.

"Freedom for schools is the common sense approach and it will raise standards."

Condemnation

School Standards Minister Estelle Morris condemned Ms May's speech.

"The Tories' extremist proposals would mean the scrapping of the effective teaching of the "three Rs" and the abandoning of performance-related pay for teachers in most schools," she said.

"Their uncosted proposals would halt the process of raising standards.

"They have opposed our literacy and numeracy strategy every step of the way - strategies that have led to real improvements for all our children."



Advanced options | Search tips




Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©


Education Contents

Features
Hot Topics
UK Systems
League Tables

Relevant Stories

04 Oct 99 | Education
Harsh response to Tories' proposals

04 Oct 99 | UK Politics
Tories make new promises

04 Oct 99 | Education
Schools at heart of Tory blueprint

02 Oct 99 | Education
Net solution for expelled pupils

01 Oct 99 | Education
Hague attacks plan to cut exclusions

29 Sep 99 | Education
Warning for truants' parents

28 Sep 99 | Education
School assaults blamed on cut in exclusions

20 Sep 99 | Education
Safety fears over school exclusion targets





Internet Links


Department for Education and Employment

Conservative Party


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.




In this section

'Golden hellos' fail to attract new teachers

Children join online Parliament

Pupils 'too ignorant to vote'

Red tape toolkit 'not enough'

Poor report for teacher training consortium

Specialist schools' results triumph

Ex-headmaster guilty of more sex charges

Blunkett welcomes Dyke's education commitment

Web funding for specialist teachers

Local authorities call for Woodhead's sacking

Dyslexic pensioner wins PhD

Armed forces children need school help

Black pupils 'need better-trained teachers'

College 'is not cool'