Labour International has submitted its views to the Party’s consultation on the National Education Service. The submission includes:
- restoring the central role of local education authorities in the system,
- representation of staff, parents and community interests on governing bodies with student councils feeding in,
- a national equalities curriculum,
- a free hot meal for all primary school students,
- funding for school social workers,
- reducing the administrative burden on teachers,
- ending tuition fees,
- realistic education maintenance grants,
- guaranteed place for all 2-4 year olds, and
- ending tax advantages of private schools.
The full text is here.
Many LI members contributed to the debate and discussion which fed in to the agreed policy position submitted on 24 June. The first step was taken by Lawrence McCarthy, a member in China, who volunteered for the difficult task of producing the first draft. Members were invited to send comments by email. Leanne Benneworth took the initiative to open a discussion on the draft on the unofficial LI Facebook page.
In Brussels we sometimes speak of a texte martyr, that is a first draft which people can react to, providing a starting point for discussion leading to a final text. Lawrence’s draft fulfilled this function and succeeded in provoking a great deal of debate. My inbox filled up with email responses and Facebook alerts as members engaged in the discussion.
An online all members’ meeting on Saturday 16 June finalised the submission.
This is only the second time LI has responded to a Party consultation in this way and we are still finding the best way to consult members. There are a few lessons we can learn from this year. We can improve the coordination of the timetable with Newsletter and AMM deadlines. The Facebook group made a big contribution, but not everyone is prepared to use Facebook and we should look at alternative forums. Given the difficulty of organising votes, we decided to work by consensus. That meant that we did not comment on issues where opinion was divided. Perhaps we should think again about voting on resolutions as part of the policy process.