Tag Archives: david laws

Opinion: Performance related pay for teachers: does it drive up standards?

Michael Gove’s most recent big idea to improve the teaching profession takes the form of performance related pay. Like many of Gove’s big ideas it has incensed teachers. But it’s also a populist move. One poll estimated that 61% of voters backed the idea. But will it improve teaching standards?

The evidence for performance related pay leading to improving standards in education is inconclusive. Literature shows no causal relationship between performance related pay and standards and results vary enormously depending on the context. In India one study showed that “after controlling for student ability, parental background and the resources available …

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“Go home” billboards – an open letter and blog round-up

Since my post on Monday about the Home Office’s plan to send mobile billboards proclaiming that people who are in this country illegally should go home or face arrest, a number of bloggers and party members across various internet fora have expressed emotions ranging from horror to anger at the plan.

Sarah Teather is, as far as I can tell, the only Liberal Democrat MP to have passed any comment at all, and just to remind you, she wasn’t chuffed:

Vulnerable individuals who are fleeing persecution and violence are treated with disbelief and a complete lack of compassion in a rigid

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David Laws – “I thought the note was a joke”

no money leftITV has revealed the contents of the infamous note left by Liam Byrne for David Laws. Unfortunately it is not possible to embed the video in this post, but you can watch it here.

Three years ago David Laws reported that his predecessor had written ‘There’s no money left’, but it seems that wasn’t quite what the note said.

 

 

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David Laws on the Liberal Democrat agenda for tackling low pay

David LawsLast Wednesday David Laws gave a speech at the Resolution Foundation on the Liberal Democrat agenda for tackling low pay.

He began by reflecting on the job market.

Many of us vividly remember the recession of the early 1980s, which destroyed so many jobs. There are still communities in our country which have failed to recover from that economic heart-attack. In contrast, the recent recession and the unusually slow recovery from it have been characterised by much better than expected employment outcomes. Instead of losing millions of jobs, we have been

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Laws vetoes plan to turn teachers into part-time border agents

Education Minister David LawsFrom yesterday’s Guardian:

A proposal to require schools to check on the immigration status of their pupils has been shelved after the Liberal Democrat schools minister David Laws decided the idea would be bureaucratic and difficult to implement.

In a sign of the Lib Dems’ determination to assert themselves in the coalition, Laws told the education secretary Michael Gove the proposal was a “non-flyer”.

According to Whitehall emails leaked to the Guardian in March, Laws asked officials earlier this year to carry out a “cost-benefit analysis” of carrying out checks

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Schools in well-off areas ‘are failing’ poorer pupils

David LawsThe Pupil Premium has had an impact on the educational achievements of many children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Indeed, the gap in attainment between them and the rest of the pupil population is the narrowest it has been for many years.

However, in an interview with the Independent, David Laws highlights the, perhaps surprising, differences between performance in deprived and in affluent areas of the country. It seems that disadvantaged children in well-off areas are not achieving as well as similar children in deprived areas.

David Laws, the Schools minister, described the

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Eastleigh by-election: your essential round-up of the latest campaign news (13 Feb)

Here’s a round-up of news from the past 24 hours in the Eastleigh by-election…

Mike Thornton’s campaign in full swing

mike thornton david chidgeyThe Lib Dems’ Mike Thornton — pictured here (by Jon Aylwin) with 1994 by-election victor David Chidgey — has been focusing on how the pupil premium, the party’s flagship education policy, has been helping Eastleigh schools:

Lib Dems boost Pupil Premium (Southern Daily Echo)
The policy introduced by the Liberal Democrats has invested £1.7m in Eastleigh schools, and is aimed at ensuring every child has a fair start in life.

Just one of the reasons why volunteer help has been pouring in to help Mike retain the seats for the Lib Dems:

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LibLink: David Laws – Incentive for UK schools to promote talent

Writing in today’s Financial Times, Lib Dem schools minister David Laws has the following to say about the Government’s announcements on reforms to the systems of examination:

We need all schools to teach all children well in all subjects. For that reason, we propose judging schools by the progress their pupils make in eight subjects. Two of those subjects will be English and maths; a further three will be any combination of sciences, history, geography and languages. The remaining three are open – they could be further sciences or languages, subjects such as art or music,

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Gove forced into GCSE U-turn ‘under Lib Dem pressure’

The morning’s big news is that Conservative education secretary Michael Gove is set to announce a U-turn today on his plans to scrap the current GCSE exams and replace them with a new EBacc qualification in 2015. Here‘s how the Independent reports it:

The Education Secretary bowed to overwhelming pressure for a rethink from Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, the exams regulator Ofqual and MPs from all parties. It is understood that he decided to act after being warned by civil servants that one key plank of his reforms – handing each of the core subjects over to just

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David Laws to chair 2015 Manifesto Working Group

It’s now official: Lib Dem schools minister David Laws will chair the party’s Manifesto Working Group. Lib Dem MP Duncan Hames, who chairs the party’s Federal Policy Committee, has just emailed members with the following message:

Last night at the party’s Federal Policy Committee we agreed Nick Clegg’s nomination of David Laws MP to Chair the Manifesto Working Group for the next General Election. Alongside David, we also appointed two Vice-Chairs – Sharon Bowles MEP and Duncan Brack – and nine further members of the group.

The Manifesto Working Group reports to the Federal Policy Committee, which has responsibility for preparing the

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David Howarth: liberals should increase indirect taxes

David HowarthMartin Tod recently drew my attention to a short publication from David Howarth published over the summer about levels of public spending: Spending and Growth – a response to David Laws.

As the title suggests, it is primarily a response to someone else’s views on appropriate levels of public spending:

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Attacking child poverty – David Laws wants your views…

Child poverty in the UK is way too high. It is at unacceptable levels and has been for too long. The government is united in taking child poverty seriously and we are determined – even in difficult times – to reduce child poverty and increase opportunities.

Traditionally we have defined poverty simply by relative income. We know now that this is not sufficient. A child’s experience of poverty is about more than whether their family income this week is low.

That is why we are consulting on a new measure of poverty. The new measure is not about abandoning the past. Nor is it about massaging

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David Laws and Vicky Pryce on the crisis in Europe

Monday evening at conference saw a discussion between David Laws, economist Vicky Pryce and Simon Tilford from the Centre for European Reform entitled “Europe: from crisis to growth”.

This wasn’t an event that one went to if one needed cheering up: the overall message coming from all the speakers was a downbeat one, even if they all picked out some small shards of positivity.

Simon Tilford began by giving some reasons why on the face of it the past month has been a rather good one in the ongoing saga of the Eurozone crisis: we had the announcement from Mario Draghi, head …

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Another day at conference, another education policy launched

BlackboardTax, tax and a bit more about tax: that’s been the main theme of the Liberal Democrat conference, from the slogan on badges and the banner outside the building through to the content of speeches and the main policy focus of the media coverage.

When it comes to new policy announcements, however, it is education that has had a strong showing.

First there was the news on summer schools:

Lib Dems announce further £100m for summer schools to help children catch-up
Mr Laws said: “All too often pupils who have made big progress

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Random conference observations from a (new) old grouch

I used to lap up all the conference speeches with unalloyed joy and naive belief.

But, returning to conference after a bit of a break, something has happened to me.

I think I may have seen and heard a lot more these days.

It takes a lot to please me.

So far, here’s some of my random observations.

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David Laws’ speech to conference: no soaring rhetoric but a clear determination to deliver

David Laws is no Tim Farron. It’s hard to imagine him rousing the passions of the party faithful as the party president does.

But what he lacks in crowd-pleasing rhetoric he makes up for in two things: first, a clear passion for education and secondly a seemingly effortless grasp of his brief.

There was little in the way of new announcements in his speech to conference, though he did confirm that the pupil premium would rise to £900 per pupil in 2013 and that by 2015 the Lib Dem pledge to dedicate a total of £2.5bn a year to the policy will …

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LibLink: David Laws – No more “nothing for nothing” politics

Over at The Sun newspaper, the Lib Dems’ new schools minister David Laws has written an article arguing that the Coalition parties are keen to put the summer’s tensions behind them and to to-boot the Government in the weeks to come. Here’s an excerpt:

Some people even started to speculate that the Coalition would end. Or that we would be in for years of drift and dither. But I believe that both leaders have looked over the edge of the Coalition cliff — and neither likes what he sees. A break-up of the Coalition would be an economic disaster. And the

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Conference preview: Saturday and Sunday

This year, the Liberal Democrat autumn conference has one day per theme, covering jobs, education, environment and tax.

Saturday is education day, with David Laws giving a keynote speech. For many party members he is more respected than trusted; recognised for his skills yet leaving people uneasy over quite what a David Laws manifesto would look like or whether it was right to bring him back into government this year. Saturday is his big chance to win over members.

If he chooses to take it, that is – as there …

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David Laws: “An exam for all abilities”

Here’s the text of the email from Lib Dem education minister David Laws to party members today setting out the Coalition’s proposed reforms of the GCSE exam system:

The Coalition has today announced our plan to replace GCSEs with new, reformed qualifications.

Our proposals will restore rigour to the exam system, allow us to compete on the international stage, and end years of grade inflation under Labour.

When some Conservatives suggested that we could bring back the 1950s O-Level, Nick Clegg immediately made it clear that Liberal Democrats would not tolerate such a move. Liberal Democrats will never accept a return

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How much should we tax? How much should we spend? The great unanswered questions in British politics

A few weeks ago I took David Laws to task for proposing the UK needs to reduce public spending to 35% of GDP: it currently stands at 43%.

I stand by the three points I made then:
1) Just because public spending is higher in the C.21st than in Gladstone’s day is not in itself a sufficient argument.
2) Proposals for public spending cuts should be backed up by specific examples. (It’s a favourite trick of Conservative right-wingers in particular, for example, to preach spending restraint while also wanting to build new prisons and buy new weapons systems.)
3) There is no evidence …

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Opinion: After the reshuffle: how can we still claim internationalism?

The reshuffle: the talking point of the last few days. I’m sure we all feel a bit angry and flustered after the Tory side was announced – Hunt at health, Miller as equalities. It really could not have been much less liberal. Our side, though, may at first appear entirely less interesting, and far more acceptable. There were some great moves in the reshuffle, sure. Jo Swinson as an Undersecretary of State. David Laws is back. This reshuffle, though, has cut out something essential to the Liberal Democrats: our internationalism. Lib Dems gone from FCO. No Lib Dems in the MOD. One minister, Lynne Featherstone, in DFID. And Lynne’s briefing (at the time of writing) has still not been an announced. This reshuffle represents an almost complete retreat from international affairs.

Internationalism is one of the things the Lib Dems pride ourselves on: our attitude to the European Union is really quite distinctive amongst mainstream politics, we work closely with our sister parties, and our opposition to the Iraq war was certainly amongst the most vocal. Foreign Affairs is not a fairly ‘non-partisan’ area, as I had it put to me. There are huge divergences in Liberal Democrat and Conservative policy here, and now we have absolutely no one fighting our corner, it seems. Even Lynne in DFID isn’t really going to have much of a say: when behind-closed-door discussion takes place on the European Union, the Eurozone crisis, our involvement in NATO, renewal of Trident, and our relationship with the US, particularly with the upcoming Presidential elections, and other big issues at the moment, DFID are hardly the most involved.

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Tim Farron MP writes… My thoughts on the Cabinet reshuffle

The first proper reshuffle for our party since the 1920s was always going to be a weird situation. I am extremely sad to see Sarah Teather, Nick Harvey, Paul Burstow and Andrew Stunell leave the government. Sarah’s work on the Pupil Premium will leave an outstanding legacy for the next generation, Andrew’s work on releasing empty homes to meet the needs of those in desperate circumstances will make the difference to thousands of people and Nick Harvey’s tenacity in ensuring that a like for like replacement for Trident is kicked off into the long grass has been a quite immense …

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The Independent View: How David Laws can help children and the economy at the same time

When David Laws arrived as Chief Secretary to the Treasury, he famously found a note from his predecessor telling him ‘there’s no money left’. With the IFS warning child poverty levels have reached a turning point and will shoot upwards again, we have to hope that any handover note left for him this time is more optimistic, particularly on improving opportunities for poor children.

As Minister for Schools, David Laws will oversee the development of the party’s flagship policy to tackle child poverty, the Pupil Premium, which Sarah Teather lists as one of her main achievements in her time

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Transfer deadline day: Laws, Brake, Foster & Swinson in, Burstow, Teather, Harvey & Stunell out, Clarke loan finishes

I love reshuffle days, they’re just like transfer deadline day. You sit there at your office computer pretending to work while secretly updating the Guardian live blog to see who your side has brought in and let go.

So, have we strengthened the side for the second half of the season or left gaping holes in our defence?

Well, we have managed to hold on to all our big players – Cable, Alexander, Davey and Moore – and, despite losing his place to Alexander after his suspension early in the season, we now have a fighting fit Laws back and ready …

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Reshuffle thoughts: how does it score against my four criteria?

Ahead of the reshuffle, I posted four criteria against which the Liberal Democrat part of the shuffling should be judged. Now nearly all the details are in, how does it look?

 

Most importantly, have people been put in jobs they’ve got a decent chance of doing well? It’s hard enough being a minister in the smaller party in a coalition government without having lots of people thrown into policy areas they are completely new to.

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Reshuffle round-up: it looks like good news for Swinson & Laws

There’s been plenty of reshuffle chit-chat overt the past few weeks, much of it speculative. However, the Sunday papers appears to included some pretty well-sourced information which went beyond the usual space-filling ‘who knows?’, and appears to suggest good news for both Jo Swinson and David Laws — both of whom enjoyed strong support in our recent survey of members’ preferred back-bencher promotions.

First, The Observer reported that David Cameron’s reshuffle will bring whips back to the fore, with an enhanced whips office incorporating both old-handers and young-turks to help the Tory leader re-assert a grip on his increasingly …

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Jo Swinson, Julian Huppert & David Laws top Lib Dem members’ reshuffle promotion wish-list

Lib Dem Voice polled our members-only forum recently to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Some 500 party members have responded, and we’re publishing the full results.

LDV asked: Which backbench Lib Dem MPs who are not current ministers would you like to see promoted? (Please write-in.) (NB: I’ve set the cut-off for inclusion in this list at 5 individual mentions.)

    Jo Swinson 77
    Julian Huppert 73
    David Laws 66
    Tim Farron 25
    Duncan Hames 21
    Simon Hughes 19
    Andrew George 16
    Tessa Munt 16
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LibLink: David Laws – I still believe the Coalition can last the course

Writing in the Telegraph, David Laws has been giving his thoughts on how Cameron and Clegg can breathe new life into the coalition, not by a new Agreement as he says the one we have is the most effective and bold programme of any peacetime government in the last 100 years. He adds that it’s vital that the Coalition does continue because the consequences of failure for the country would be unpalatable for the country.

Alongside the over-riding priority of the economy and stimulating economic growth, he gives an outline of what the Coalition could achieve over the next two and …

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LibLink: Long reach of the Laws

David Laws may have resigned from the Coalition’s cabinet two years ago, but (after an initial period of wondering whether to quit politics altogether) his influence hasn’t actually waned much. His interests range across economic and social policy: though he was the party’s education spokesman in opposition, he was a natural fit as chief secretary to the treasury in government, however briefly. He is widely expected to make a return to government at the next reshuffle, …

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David Laws: let’s cut taxes and spending. For once, I’m unconvinced. Here’s why…

David Laws has earned himself a generous write-up in today’s Telegraph, with the paper which triggered his resignation from the cabinet two years ago hailing his ‘radical vision of a liberal state’, and lamenting with crocodile tears that his downfall was ‘a great loss to the Cabinet’.

The cause is an interview David has given to the paper in which he makes the case for further public spending cuts and lower taxes — a case he has outlined in greater depth in an article in the current Institute of Economic Affairs journal, highlighted last week on LibDemVoice. Here’s …

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarCallum Leslie 25th Oct - 8:18pm
    People without a practical understanding of Scottish politics may see this as good - however the SNP surge taking seats off Labour may mean we...
  • User Avatarlloyd 25th Oct - 8:07pm
    When the answer to the question is Gordon Brown as one Labour MSP who appeared on the news thought you have to worry how much...
  • User AvatarRichard 25th Oct - 8:07pm
    Why is Alastair Darling's name never mentioned as possible leader of the Scottish Labour Party. Is he too sane?
  • User Avatarpaul barker 25th Oct - 7:48pm
    An interesting article but I dont think British Politics has been moving to the right for the last 35 years; its actually much more complex...
  • User AvatarStephen Hesketh 25th Oct - 7:45pm
    As I commented at the time of the survey, I was extremely disappointed we were not offered a regional devolution question or option. Thinking about...
  • User AvatarJohn Grout 25th Oct - 7:44pm
    Christine, in this context BT stands for 'Better Together' not 'British Telecom'. :) Here's a link to the advert from the Better Together channel on...