As the schools watchdog Ofsted launches a consultation on its own inspections, the Guardianhas been canvassing views from across the education sector.
Jonathan Simons, head of education at Tory think tank Policy Exchange, reckons it is headteachers — and, by extension, their bosses, the governing body — who should determine the criteria on which their own school should be judged:
“Ofsted should be a hygiene inspector, not a food critic. By that I mean it should be headteachers who are the dominant actors: they should be the ones saying this is what we’re doing, these are the outcomes, here’s the data to prove it.
Could this be the Jonathan Simons who founded the Greenwich Free School, which, errr, received a ‘requires improvement’ rating — the second lowest of four — in an inspection report released in April this year?
And could this be the Jonathan Simons who chairs a governing body that a subsequent monitoring inspection visit found was “not taking effective action to tackle the areas relating to teaching that were identified at the [previous] inspection”?
West Yorkshire Police have claimed that ‘a jogger’ was “in the wrong place at the wrong time” after a running man collided with the David Cameron and his security detail after a meeting in Leeds today.
With reports breaking online (but no video footage) West Yorkshire Police — who presumably had some responsibility for the security operation around the PM — played the incident down on Twitter:
To clarify re arrest in #Leeds as man came close to PM's group: Nothing sinister, just a man in the wrong place at the wrong time….
UKIP aren’t the only party with a record of dubious race politics to be standing in the Rochester and Strood by-election. Thugs Britain First — whose mosque invasion tactics and meteoric rise on social media have arguably made them the pre-eminent threat from the bona fide far-right — are standing their deputy leader Jayda Fransen in the constituency.
More worrying still, is the warm reception that their message of religious hatred is getting with some Kippers. The Britain First website boasts of their presence on Rochester High Street:
“The day was marked by the great and friendly reception we received from the UKIP activists.”
Indeed, some feel happy to pose arm-in-arm with Fransen:
If there was any doubt what a nasty piece of work Fransen is, here she is in action a few days ago, haranguing Muslims leaving a local mosque:
But not everyone is worried by the degree of UKIP/Britain First chuminess. Here are the top Facebook comments on the UKIP/Britain First photo above:
Whatever subtle repositioning may be taking place as UKIP professionalise their operations, the fact remains that the party attracts activists and candidates with deeply unsavoury views.
Jake Yapp (@JakeYapp) responds to UKIP’s attempt to storm the singles chart — which was pulled by Farage-loving ex-Radio 1 DJ Mike Read this week when he finally realised that singing about immigrants in a mock Caribbean accent might be in poor taste.
Tory councillor Kelly Tolhurst has won the ‘open primary’ in Rochester and Strood. With a six-figure cost and a five-figure turnout, the postal ballot of every voter in the constituency has set the Conservative Party around back £18 per vote — so it’s just as well they don’t plan on declaring it as an election expense!
By not officially having a candidate, clever clogs at Tory HQ reckon they can spend as much as they fancy without exceeding strict limits on campaign spending. But Michael Crick has calledthem out on the total charade of holding a so-called ‘primary’ involving just two candidates — both local councillors — and doing so right in the middle of the main campaign.
And another thing. It might not be legal. Both UKIP and Crick have spoken to lawyers who claim that the ruse could be open to a legal challenge.
Lawyers say cost of Tory Rochester primary should be election expense & may lead to result being overturned http://t.co/Pp1unf5so5
The Electoral Commission have also told Scrapbook that the Tories have not asked them for any specific guidance on primaries in the context of a by-election:
“The guidance that has been referred to is on our website and has of course been sent out to all parties at various points but the Conservative party did not approach us for anything bespoke beyond this.”
The treasurer of the local Conservative Association — who could be responsible for any overspends under Section 79 of PPERA — wasn’t exactly keen to chat when Scrapbook rang her earlier today.
The response of barrister and part-time MP Stephen Phillips to questions about his outside earnings was utterly breathtaking in its arrogance. He was, however, very keen to emphasise that his work was confined to periods in which Parliament is not sitting and that it “doesn’t affect the way in which I perform as an MP”:
“The money I earn outside Parliament is money for which I work very hard. It also demonstrates really quite how successful I am.
“It might well be thought that having someone who commands the sort of fees that I can when the House is not sitting might be a very good thing for my constituents.
“What is interesting of course is the concentration there, really, on money and the feeding of the green-eyed god of envy rather than actually concentrating on whether I’m actually doing my job.”
Suffice it to say that Phillips appears to have had something of a schedule clash this week. He voted on Monday but hasn’t been seen in the chamber since. He was supposed to be at a public accounts committee hearing on overall government finances yesterday afternoon, which he also missed.
At 10:30 FOR TRIAL Part Heard 2011-357 Lakatamia Shipping Co Limited v Nobu Su & 6 ors
£750,000-per-year Phillips is representing a shipping firm in a commercial lawsuit over £50 million in forward freight agreements. The MP, who can’t be bothered to turn up for his own job, even had the cheek to claim that the defendant “cannot be trusted”.
Never mind the 600,000 extra children living in absolute poverty since the Coalition came to power, has anyone considered how the hard-pressed residents of NW3 will cope if a Mansion Tax is imposed by Ed Balls?
Former senior medical adviser to the Foreign Office Dr Harald Lipman lives on Fitzjohn’s Avenue, Hampstead — where a pied-à-terre will set you back an average of £1.25m. He told the Ham & High about the severity of the crisis which could afflict the wealthy enclave:
“This is a non-partisan, apolitical campaign, it’s humanitarian.”
Dr Lipman and fellow campaigners are appealing for signatures on a petition and have not ruled out a protest march.
He is being supported by double Oscar-winning actor-turned-MP for Hampstead and Kilburn Glenda Jackson. We know that Ms Jackson may be affected by the measure as her writer and PR consultant son Dan Hodges — with whom she shares a £2m property an hour’s drive away from her constituency — has been whingeing about the measure from the comfort of the Telegraph.
Over to Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson:
@Mr_Eugenides@alexmassie but 'it's just an ordinary 3 story townhouse with a garden in London, bought in the 70s by an Oscar winner…