The New Socialist Educational Association Blog

This post is the first on this new blog promoted by the Socialist Educational Association. It’s aim is to provide a regular commentary on issues in the educational and political world from the perspective of the Labour Party’s educational affiiliate organisation. Posts will always represent the personal views of the contributor and not necessarily of the SEA or the Labour Party.

We’re launching this initiative at a critical time in the history of state education in England. Not only is there a need to defend the basic principles of comprehensive access to education from the assaults of the coalition. One key task will be to provide an informed critique of the disastrous policies being pursued by Michael Gove and his team at the DfE.

But we need just as importantly to be redefining what kind of education we need in our rapidly changing world. These are the key principles that the SEA adopted after the 2010 election and they represent the key commitments from which we believe policy development needs to start:

  • To develop democratic and comprehensive alternatives to marketisation and privatisation which divide communities and increase inequality. Like the NHS, the locally accountable community comprehensive school is a successful and popular expression of our values – we should champion it.
  • To develop a single, broad and inclusive framework for the curriculum from early years to adult education. We need an alternative to the bewildering choice of qualifications, which can limit opportunities and lead to segregation by social class. This should include choice, depth, breadth, stretch and progression and value what learners know and can do so that all learners can be proud of their achievements.
  • To develop ways of targeting educational investment to reduce inequalities and promote achievement as an alternative to regressive spending cuts which hit the poorest hardest. This means keeping educational routes open for all learners throughout life.
  • To develop, with others, an education charter based on the principles of equality, inclusivity, democracy and solidarity.
  • To promote the development of locally elected forums which would be responsible for scrutinising education provision in their area.

We hope that this blog will be one place where the debate over both present and future can take place.

2 Comments on “The New Socialist Educational Association Blog”

  1. Paul says:

    I’ve no objection to a local forum to scrutinise education provision, but there is a lot more to be done than just critique what exists. One of the problems with the “autonomous schools” theory is that it is presumes that things stay pretty much the same and the task is to refine the details. Not true! Populations go up and down by surprisingly large amounts and schools cannot/ will not either cut their size of greatly expand it unless it suits them to do so. Even relatively large, well-established and sophisticated organisations like church dioceses struggle to deal with these issues. This work has always fallen to Local Authorities.
    A useful initiative established (and then abolished!) under Blair were School Organisation Plans which required the Local Authorities to make public their thinking on how the school system met – or failed to meet – local needs. It would be a good starting point to reintroduce this in some form.

  2. Harry Barnes says:

    I enclose links to items which might be of interest to the SEA. The first one has also been published in issue 66 of “Post-16 Educator”.

    The second one was been published in (a) the 2011 Chesterfield May Day Brochure and then (b) in issue 63 of “Post-16 Educator”.

    There are threads on my blog entitled “Education” and “Adult Education” which can be scanned where items of interest might be found. See –