Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My response to the commons select committee report.

Written ten mins after skim reading it.

I'm actually really happy with the report. It criticizes Badman's evidence base and, because of the unsafety of the evidence, the report backs off from the really problematic parts of the proposals - interviewing the child alone, access to family house, being measured on a detailed curriculum plan. It says clearly that the DCSF need to think out how any legislation will impact on SEN children before bringing it forward and it also says that the registration=licensing proposals are crazy. It says none of it is workable without properly costed and carried out LA staff training. It says a lot about autonomous HE. Mostly that they don't understand it - I think there is a clear acknowledgment that the report writers feel a tad out of their depth - but also that the DCSF should blooming well have done that research properly before bringing forward legislation that affects AE.

So now Graham Stuart and our other allies take that lot to conservative HQ, and they draft 2562 amendments to the proposed education bill - just the HE related bits, before they even start in on the rest of the bill - and if anyone says "steady on old chap, why not just let it go through?", Graham Stuart says "well, have you not seen the hiiiiighly critical select committee report on the Badman review? We can't just leave it be, you know, we have a responsibility" "good point, good point" they say. "pass the port".

And with the 2562 proposed amendments, the bill can't just go through, it will get stuck either in a committee somewhere or in the Lords and there's no way it can get included in the wash up - I mean, sorry Ed, but no way Jose in the light of such a critical select committee finding for part of the bill.

And then - oopsie - it'll run out of time as the general election is announced, and there's no way a conservative government is going to want to proceed with Ed Balls's fag ends, they'll want their own bright shiny new education legislations.

So yes, the battle goes on, but this should be enough to prevent the Balls nightmare going through (unless we get another labour government - not that I've met anyone anywhere in the last 6 months inclined to vote for them, so God knows who their constituency would be) and then once the conservatives arrive, well, they know about us, they are broadly sympathetic to us, and we make sure that we are right in there talking to michael gove and his chums from the get go. We no longer need to persuade balls and co of the problems of registration and defining suitable education, we have no hope of persuading them and it doesn't matter. We just need to be poised and ready to explain the issues clearly to Gove and co once they are elected.

The select committee enquiry had three purposes from our point of view. 1. to buy us time; 2. to bring HE to the attention of as many MPs as possible so they wouldn't nod through legislation concerning us in ignorance; 3. to place on public record the shoddiness of the Badman process, and the culpability of both Badman and the DCSF in that. How many times does the report say "this data was not in the Badman report, but HEers have acquired it through FOI requests..." Egg meet face.

We have a positive result on all three counts. We should be ready for a very merry Christmas.