Nick Clegg has, in a speech made today, insisted that handing more freedom to individual schools must be underpinned by safeguards to ensure that minimum standards are met.
He wants academies and free schools to be forced to employ only qualified teachers and teach the national curriculum like other schools.
In a move to distance the Lib Dems from Tory education policy, he has criticised the Conservative promotion of free schools and academies, stating that parents are much more interested in good quality teaching, a solid curriculum and suitable school meals than what sort of school their child attends.
‘All I ask is that we seek to deliver the same balance of freedoms and core standards in all schools.’
He was also critical of the apparent contradiction in promoting free schools – with their unqualified teachers and freedom from the curriculum – and the Conservative desire to ‘micro-manage’ the curriculum content of maintained schools. In turn. Labour have accused him of hypocrisy, as Coalition policies have promoted free schools and their employment of unqualified teachers.
All this follows the closure of the Al Madinah free school in Derby – condemned as failing by Ofsted – and the sacking of the Head of Pimlico Free School in London, who had no teaching experience.