Early years professionals launch new manifesto

Early years professionals launch new manifesto

Prospect professionals in early years education have drawn up a new manifesto. which sets out the core principles for effective educational improvement

The Aspect pledge, which sets out the core principles for effective educational improvement, was launched at the group’s conference in November.

The pledge calls for an effective middle tier – between schools and a centralising government – that can deliver real improvements in a fragmented school system.

Prospect deputy general secretary Leslie Manasseh highlighted the political climate and the current education secretary’s hostility to local government and his faith in the market’s ability to deliver a good education for all.

“Michael Gove’s policy seems to be little more than encouraging free schools and academies which, freed from the 'yoke' of local authority control, will apparently blossom and provide a place and a good education for all children.

“Markets are great to buy shoes or a new car when consumer choice is a simple concept, but it is much less certain that the education of the nation’s children can treated as a commodity in the same way.

“I fear that we are rushing headlong to a situation where schools try to survive in a fragmented and competitive system, fighting for scarce resources. In such a system there will be winners and losers. The winners will be those who already enjoy advantages, and the losers are all too likely to be among those who are already disadvantaged.

“The looming crisis in primary school places is a case in point. We know there will be shortage in 2015 but the government’s answer apparently is to create more free schools, despite evidence that most free schools open in areas where there is already a surplus of places,” he added.

Manasseh warned that professionals in education and children's services face a rapidly changing workplace. The traditional base in local government is shrinking due to deep funding cuts and the schools system is fragmenting.

He said the group is exploring new opportunities in academy chains, traded services organisations and other bodies and structures being developed to support and provide services to schools.

The conference welcomed newly-elected group president Sean Maguire, who took up office with a new national council and revised rules.

Delegates also celebrated Aspect’s successful integration into Prospect and welcomed plans to strengthen organisation, increase recruitment and develop the group's highly regarded professional development programme.

Click here to download the manifesto.