New education bill slammed by city MP

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SCHOOLS in Sunderland will be dragged back in time through the new Education Bill claims a city MP.

Sharon Hodgson, MP for Washington and Sunderland West, said the bill, unveiled yesterday by Education Secretary Michael Gove, will do nothing to move education forward for students.

The Government says the bill paves the way for more types of schools to become academies, for reduced school inspections and for more intervention in failing schools.

Mr Gove says the changes will cut bureaucracy and give teachers the power to “restore order to the classroom”.

However, Labour has accused the Government of going back to the 1950s.

The new bill includes proposals such as increased search powers for heads for banned items, the removal of the power of appeal panels to force schools to re-instate pupils they have expelled, granting anonymity to teachers who have been accused of misconduct by pupils, extending heads’ powers to discipline pupils if they misbehave on the way to or from school and giving schools power to impose a detention without giving 24-hours’ notice.

Mrs Hodgson, Shadow Education Minister, said: “Instead of equipping our schools for the future, this Bill seems to want to drag us back to the past.”

But Robert Oliver, Sunderland Conservative spokesman for education, said: “I welcome the Bill which offers a greater focus on learning and behaviour.

“Schools in Sunderland will benefit from a more focused and reduced role for Ofsted and the elimination of many pieces of unnecessary bureaucracy, so that schools can get on and teach rather than filling in forms.”