Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Commenting on the ?Common Sense on Schools Policy launched by William Hague this week, Peter Lilley, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, said:

    “The next Conservative Government will give a real boost to teachers, pupils and parents by setting Britain?s schools free.

    “Under ?Free Schools? Conservatives will set teachers free from many of the burdens of bureaucracy and government diktats, money will go direct to the schools, to enable them to set their own discipline policies and drive up standards in education for all children.

    “All schools will receive all their funding directly, rather than via a local education authority. This will mean that on average schools will receive around ?540 extra for each pupil so a ? spent on schools will really mean a ? spent in schools. Headteachers and governors will have even greater freedom to manage their own budgets, employ their own staff and determine their own admissions policy. They will also be completely free to set and enforce their own standards of discipline without Government interference.

    Hertfordshire County Council will have a drastically simplified role ? it will still be responsible for certain areas of education ? which we expect will include educational welfare, special needs statementing, and ensuring every child in Hertfordshire gets an education.?

    “Parents as well will have far greater choice to apply to whichever school can best bring out the potential of their child. Taxpayers? money will then follow the pupil, putting financial power behind parental choice. The parents? guarantee will provide parents with a means of changing the management of a bad school.

    “By allowing good schools to expand or new ones to be created including new grammar schools and specialist schools, we will increase diversity and drive up standards.

    “The government talked of ?education, education, education? and has delivered nothing but failure, failure, failure. Where they have failed, we will succeed. These policies show that William Hague is taking the lead on education and through ?Free Schools? will ensure that schools in Hitchin and Harpenden will benefit from the watchwords of the next Conservative Government: freedom, standards, discipline.?