Speeches recovered from the Conservative party‚Äôs online archive More…

May: Discipline, standards and choice

Launching 'Twenty Conservative policies for better schools', Shadow Secretary of State for Education, Theresa May:

"William has just described to you the vision we Conservatives have for the future of education in this country.

"But it is not just our vision.

"Parents across the country know the type of school they want for their children.

"They want a school that has a strong sense of discipline.

"A school where teachers are able to spend time working with the children to make sure they are properly motivated and get the best education possible.

"Most important of all, parents want to give their children a start in life that equips them to go on and realise their ambition and full potential.

"And that is why our vision for schools is in tune with the common sense views of parents in this country.

"William spoke about discipline, standards and choice in our schools.

"On discipline, parents expect that their children's classroom will not be disrupted time and time again by a minority of disruptive pupils.

"That is why we will stop the Government undermining the authority of heads. Currently, local authorities can overturn heads' decisions to exclude pupils that are damaging the education of others and even subjecting teachers to the threat of violence. We will take away the local authorities power to intervene to overturn heads' decisions.

"Of course, parents must also play their part in ensuring that their children meet the disciplinary requirements of their school.

"This is why we will let heads design their own home school agreements.

"This Government has enshrined the requirement to have such agreements in law, but it has tied heads' hands in enforcing them.

"We will ensure the effectiveness of home school agreements by allowing schools to use the willingness of the pupil or parent to sign the home-school agreement as a criterion for admission.

"On standards, parents want their child to fulfil their full potential. They want higher standards in our schools.

"More than anything standards in schools depend on having good teachers.

"We will match the Government's planned expenditure on schools.

"We also understand that pay is not the primary reason that teachers join the profession.

"People become teachers so that they can use the skills that they have learned to inspire young people.

"But the main reason teachers are leaving in droves is because they can't get on with the job of teaching because of all the bureaucracy, the rules and regulations and the paperwork.

"It is no good having a target to recruit more teachers without addressing the reasons why good teachers are leaving the profession.

"So we will retain and attract more teachers by allowing them to get on with the job that they joined to do.

"We will bring an end to the endless stream of forms, circulars and directives that land in schools every day.

"And because we trust teachers we will make the national curriculum less prescriptive and allow them to exercise professional judgement as to what is in the best interests of their pupils.

"And finally turning to choice, we will ensure that parents are able to choose the education and the school that is right for their child.

"We will end the current restrictions that prevent good schools from expanding to meet demand.

"And we will give parents more opportunity to make a real choice about their child's education by allowing independent foundations such as companies, charities and religious groups to run existing or new state schools within a taxpayer funded education system.

"These straightforward measures are based on what parents want for their children.

"Discipline, standards, and choice.

"These are the values that parents want to see enshrined in our school system.

"And these are the values that the next Conservative Government will deliver."

Keyboard shortcuts

j previous speech k next speech