Head teachers from some of the country’s leading schools are warning that a Labour government could pose a threat to the coalition’s education reforms.
A letter signed by eighty current and former head teachers of schools rated good or outstanding, enjoying academy-style freedoms was sent to the Daily Mail warning that classroom standards could be undermined by further regulations.
It was organised by the Freedom and Autonomy for Schools National Association, who represent self-governing schools and academies.
The letter said: “As school leaders we are concerned that recent statements from Liberal Democrat and Labour politicians suggest they might not protect all the freedoms which schools and teachers now enjoy and which are helping to drive up standards across the board.”
David Cameron has announced plans to ensure pupils do not fall behind in English and maths when they start secondary school.
The Conservative initiative will see pupils resitting their SATs if they fail to achieve a good pass at the age of 11.
However, Labour said that the scheme was simply an attempt to disguise the Conservatives’ “failures” on schools standards.
Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan said more needs to be done to combat those leaving primary school who do not meet the expected standards.
She said: “If we fail to get it right for young people at the start of secondary school, they’ll struggle for the rest of their time in education.
“Under Labour, one in three children left primary school unable to read, write and add up properly. Thanks to our reforms and teachers’ hard work, we’ve seen that fall just to one in five. But even one child falling behind, or being written off, is a child too many.”
Labour’s shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt said: “This is a desperate attempt by the Tories to try to overshadow their failures on school standards.”
He claimed that the Tories are responsible for 1.6 million pupils being educated in schools rated less than ‘good’ by Ofsted, as well as 400,000 children being taught by unqualified teachers under David Cameron’s unqualified teachers policy.
However, the head teachers’ letter called on political leaders to “guarantee that all current academy freedoms will be maintained after the election”.
It also said: “This is not the time to stop something that is working to the benefit of so many children in schools.”