Making schools compete against each other is wrong way forward

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Labour have long argued that we need to strengthen the provision and choices available to our young people in Calderdale at the age of 16.

But the divisive resolution which is being put forward by the Conservative group at tonight’s council meeting is not the way to do this.

Sadly, the coalition Government’s education policies encourage schools to compete rather than co-operate. and, sure enough, one Halifax school has suddenly submitted a bid to create a new academic sixth form centre in Halifax itself.

This proposal emerged over the summer holidays, with little warning to other schools and very limited consultation with parents and local communities.

I am especially concerned about how this will affect our schools in Brighouse and Rastrick, who already face a challenge from Government plans which will significantly reduce funding for sixth forms in the future.

There is absolutely no argument that we want to see more, and better, choices for young people at 16, with an improved academic curriculum and a better choice of technical and vocational options. And we want to see that happen in Calderdale, so that fewer of our young people travel to Huddersfield for their education.

But we will only achieve this if we get our schools, our further education sector other providers working effectively togther.

The partisan Conservative resolution is not the right way forward.

By Councillor Tim Swift (Leader of the Calderdale Labour Group)