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Tuesday, 16 September 2014

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Cockermouth campaigner takes Ofsted battle to conference

A Cockermouth Liberal Democrat campaigner has taken her battle for legal reform to Ofsted to the party’s North West conference.

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FIGHTING FOR LEGAL REFORM: Rebecca Hanson, of Cockermouth

Rebecca Hanson, 39, of Kirkgate, spoke at the conference and proposed a motion that would see state schools get the same legal protection from Ofsted that public and private schools do.

Several other Liberal Democrat members spoke in favour of the proposal. The motion was passed unanimously.

It will be looked at by the Liberal Democrats’ education association committee and looks likely to progress to the party’s national spring conference.

If passed in its current form Liberal Democrat ministers could fight for state schools to have the legal right to force Ofsted to improve its practice if it behaves in ways which are against their rules.

Mrs Hanson said: “When Ofsted was set up schools were left without any legal right to challenge its decisions because it was assumed that the Government and Ofsted itself would behave wisely.

“Education secretary Michael Gove promised teachers more professional freedom and he could have achieved this in his first few weeks in power if he had given schools the rights which this motion offers them.

“Instead he has chosen to use Ofsted as a tool to bully schools with.

“Liberal Democrat ministers need to challenge this head-on but to do so they require a mandate from their party which we are working hard to establish.”

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