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LGA CONF: BEECHAM SET TO ATTACK FRONT LINE FIRST POLICIES

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Jeremy Beecham, chair of the Local Government Association, will today make a bitter attack on the government's so-c...
Jeremy Beecham, chair of the Local Government Association, will today make a bitter attack on the government's so-called 'front line first' policy, reports The Guardian (p10).

Sir Jeremy, a member of Labour's national executive, will tell the LGA's annual conference that transferring education and social care directly to schools and new trusts would be both 'unworkable and in terms of local democracy completely unacceptable'.

Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy will today tell the conference that government targets obliging schools to monitor millions of separate performance measures should be scrapped.

The Guardian says that Mr Kennedy will condemn Whitehall-set monitoring as a 'shocking' bureaucratic burden on schools, and will propose the axeing of national monitoring measures, including Sats tests, which measure pupils in maths, English and science and are used in the compilation of school league tables.

Since Labour took power in May 1997, a total of 4,585 targets have been set for schools, colleges and local education authorities, according to Lib Dem research. Targets are in turn broken down into 306,480,472 separate measures to be monitored, the party's study indicates.

Mr Kennedy will say that this huge number of performance measures should be replaced with a single statutory requirement for schools to develop an individual education plan accountable to parents, the local education authority and Ofsted.

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