Politics magazine. Helping Britain's troubled families; what music can do for politics; and Baroness Sally Morgan, Ofsted chair, discusses the exam system.
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Afternoon, folks. Welcome to the Daily Politics. In the aftermath of
the summer's riots the Government promises to turn around the lives
of Britain's 120,000 troubled families. Will their �450 million
scheme do the trick? It's supposed to be the pupils who cheat, but,
now, apparently the examiners are up to it. Can parents, pupils, and
employers trust out exams system? Advent's a busy time for Santa and
his elves. But not for MPs - the Government's not given them much to
do. Still plenty of time to make the mincemeat, steam the puddings
and stuff the turkey. And can pop music and politicians ever be a
good combination? It is too dangerous for politicians to get
involved in youth culture. They end up looking so old! Not sure if that
was stiff or stuff the turkey! This is not one of these endless baking
cooking programmes, this is the Daily Politics! All that in the
next half-hour. And with us for the whole programme today is Baroness
Sally Morgan, a Labour Peer, former advisor to Tony Blair, and now
chair of the schools' inspectorate Ofsted. Welcome to the programme.
Morning. And it's on a school- related matter that we begin.
Because this morning the Education Select Committee have been hearing
from the exams boards over allegations of cheating. The
Telegraph newspaper recorded an examiner working for the Welsh exam
board, WJEC, giving teachers prior knowledge of the content of exam
papers and apparently admitting to cheating. The story comes amidst
concerns that competition between exam boards has led to a dilution
of standards. We have not cheated. We have not told them anything at
all. Every individual in front of them achieves their best... We are
not talking about teachers in the classroom. We are talking about
examiners in an Examining Board, teaching the exam to teachers.
are not teaching the exam to teachers. I mean, I quite... We are
explaining a specification which is a number of words which some
teachers will immediately pick up, grasp and get a hold of and others
would say, you know, what does this particular statement mean? We have
chosen to do this subject on the day Sally Morgan is here! A lot of
people who read the Telegraph stuff and watched the secretly-taped
video and so on, in addition to the details, teachers paying up to �230
a day to attend seminars with chief examiners. It doesn't pass the
smell test? I am pleased there is going to be a full investigation.
That is not Ofsted, it is OFQAL. All of us... You don't regulate it?
We don't regulate exams. So we have the wrong person?! Send her home!
You are happy they are going to do it? On a personal basis, many moons
ago I was a geography teacher so when I read the stuff in Telegraph
about the geography teacher, I found it incredibly depressing. You
want education to be as wide as possible and we have to see what
OFQAL come up with. I hope there is a pretty radical look at the system.
The exams system is now discredited, would you go that far? There is a
real level of concern about it. We all know, if you have had kids who
have gone through exams you know how much they put into exams and
you know how much teachers put in to helping children prepare. So
there's got to be a situation where there is real assurance for
children, teachers and employers that the exams mean something.
remember there was loads of discussion about past exam papers.
Hasn't there always been a bit of it is more likely this is going to
come up than that? Maybe not as we saw in that secretly-recorded film.
But this idea that there is no communication... You are right. I
can remember that, too. I can remember saying, "If volcanoes came
up last year, maybe it is not going to come up next." I remember at
school and at university, you could go into the library and look out
the exam papers... It is whether or not this has gone over a line. I
think it's commonsense. Everybody recognises there has to be - there
is going to be guesswork and intelligence about what is likely
to come up in an exam. It is about whether this has crossed the line.
Does it play into a widely-held view beyond the teaching unions,
who don't agree, that the exams have got easier? I don't buy that.
Let me ask you this. Why is it now that the private schools who do the
same A-levels as the state schools they are getting incredible pass
rates like five times better than 30 years ago? They are not three or
five times better. Standards have come up. I know there is
controversy over that. But standards in schools have come up.
Coursework has had an impact. I am sure there will be a longer review
about the role of coursework. There is coursework. When we did exams...
They were three-hour exams. It is very different now.
universities say that an A in an A level no longer allows them to
distinguish between good and bad. Those getting A-level maths to go
to Cambridge have to do remedial courses. The other thing is...
some of us went to university, you were interviewed by universities
and that was an additional way of making an assessment.
There were a lot of universities that did interviews at that point.
Even though you are not from OFQAL, we are glad you are here! Now, how
can Government turn around problem families? The cost to society in
benefits, public services, policing and even prison is well documented.
As are the grand gestures of past politicians. Now, David Cameron has
unveiled his plans. Jo has more. Yes, Andrew, the aftermath of the
summer riots refocused political thought on the UK's problem
families. Now, the Government wants to use troubleshooters - a mixture
of charity, council and private sector workers who will receive
almost �450 million in taxpayers' money to help 120,000 troubled
families in England. They will be expected to produce plans which
could include targets to return parents to work, stop them from
drinking or taking drugs, and ensuring children go to school. The
troubleshooters will be paid an average of �3,750 for each family,
with 60% of the money paid upfront and the remainder "on results". The
Prime Minister explained how troubleshooters will help. They
will see the family as a whole and get a plan of action together
agreed with the family. This will be basic practical things, like
getting the kids to school on time, properly fed. They are the building
blocks of any orderly home and a responsible life. These things
don't always cost a lot, but they make a big difference. Then they
will get on top of the services, sorting out and sometimes fending
off the 28 different state services that can come calling at the door.
Not a string of well-meaning disconnected officials who end up
treating the symptoms and not the causes. But a clear hard-headed
recognition of how the family is going wrong and what the family
members can do to take responsibility. We are joined by
the Communities Minister and for Labour, Jack Dromey. Minister,
these problem families already cost us �9 billion a year, �9,000
million, there's still 120,000 of them. So why will another �450
million make any difference? have a programme that has already
begun. We have to accelerate that, make it happen all over the country.
This is pump-priming money to tackle a deep-seated problem that's
been going on for generations. do you pump-prime? You have heard
the Prime Minister say we are going to place in each local authority
area a troubleshooter, we will be working very closely with local
authorities, the Probation Service, with education, with Criminal
Justice System, social services take a tremendous hit from families
and particularly young children who often for generation after
generation are in a cycle which simply repeats itself. Is this
troubleshooter going to knock on the doors and say, "Why are you not
at work? Why is your kid not at school?" Is that what they are
going to do? The most important thing is to co-ordinate...
process? No, it is about real action to bring things together.
is an interesting initiative. Tell us how it will work. There is a
problem family - Jo's. Troubleshooter goes to Jo's door,
if they can get through the debris, what will happen? The key thing is
to make sure the children are at school and the opportunities for
the family to develop their skills to get into work are there.
understand that. We have to tackle the anti-social behaviour...
Understand all that. Sorry to interrupt you. I understand the
problem. I know about the problem. I'm just anxious to know what this
person will do when faced with a troubled family. He won't go, or
she won't go with a blank sheet of paper. They will have been the work
with the Probation Service, with the education service, the social
services beforehand so that it is clear for that particular family
what needs to be done. So the people... It will be different in
different places. The people aren't working, the kids are not at school.
What does the troubleshooter do? The first thing is to get those
children back into school. How does he do it? Can they force them to
go? What we have got at the moment is a system where there are
punishments and rewards but it is difficult to enforce them. So the
troubleshooter's job is to make sure it is pulled together and it
really does happen. It's some stick but also some carrot to make sure
that those children are drawn into the system, the adults as well and
the anti-social behaviour. We have seen it in examples across the
country that you get a reduction in anti-social behaviour when there is
that one-to-one engagement. You get children back into school. I can
understand how one the one will help. Putting aside my inability to
find out exactly how this will work, I assume that Labour supports the
principle? Labour in power was always on about early intervention,
getting in there. I was looking back at Gordon Brown's speech to
the Labour Conference in 2007 - that is what my life is reading his
old speeches! New one-to-one support led by the voluntary sector
can make all the difference. That's what the Government's doing?
are right. We acted in Government. The notion of early intervention -
I see some of those families in my own constituency, deep-seated
problems. Intergenerational? dad I know who lost his job four
times in the 1980s and then lost his confidence, never worked again
and no-one else has ever worked in that household for the 25 years
subsequently. It is absolutely right that what you do is to have a
focus on those families because they are not just a problem for
themselves, they are also a problem for the communities in which they
live. It's the people around them who are troubled? Sure. Is this a
consensus I am seeing here? principle is a good one. We
pioneered it. They also abolished Total Place, that brought together
all the different agencies in areas where you get... Can I come to the
practical problems? You asked how does it work? The idea of having a
trusted person working with a family, helping that family and
challenging that family is a good thing. I have seen it in my own
constituency. There's three problems... A tough job. I wouldn't
like it? Very tough job. There are three problems. Briefly.
Government says this is what we want to do, we want to put in 40%,
local government you put in 60%. The only problem about that,
Birmingham cut �212 million from Birmingham City Council... This
Andrew! The second thing is that early intervention in areas like
children's centres, childcare, mental health, all of the things
that matter to - you invest �1 now, you save �10 later on. Those
services are being cutback by the Government. The third point is get
people back into work without hesitation. Work should be central
to people's lives. But just yesterday's figures that came out,
Andrew, 500 extra people on the dole in my constituency. The floor
is yours. Indeed. Listening to the chair of the Local Enterprise
Centre for the West Midlands, they have vacancies they can't fill
because they haven't got the skills. There is mass unemployment in
Birmingham. I think Jack and I agree, but for the sake of this
programme, he has to disagree! LAUGHTER The community budget
programme has been running all year. What we have done is to give extra
impetus beyond the pilot areas including Birmingham. Do local
authorities have to chivvy up some of this �450 million? They will be
saving as well. Some of the money they are putting into Children's
Services, putting children into care, they will be able to save.
it right you are saying to Birmingham, we will put in 40%, but
you have to find 60%? No, the police service, the Probation
Service, the budget is drawn from Government departments, nine
Government departments, across Government. All right. We want to
monitor this very carefully. It is interesting. This 120,000 troubled
families, they do cause a lot of the crime, a lot of social unrest
and they make life miserable for those around them. I think people
watching this will only be convinced if this 120,000 figure is
a real figure and whether it is Labour or Conservative, or Lib Dem,
come back to us in five years' time and say, "It's now 90,000. There is
still a way to go but we can say to you, we have moved 30,000 off the
troubled list." I'm not sure they will be able to do that? The real
issue for me is the children in those families. Some of whom
obviously in the end are children who end up causing a lot of
problems in schools for other children. In the end, they are very
vulnerable. My question is whether or not really there is sufficient
resource going into this. I'm convinced about early intervention.
Have any of you seen the scheme? have seen what a real difference...
No, have you seen the TV programme? None of you have? Correct.
should all watch it. It should be compulsory viewing in the Lords and
the Commons. It is on BBC Scotland. It's a documentry where they went
into a real scheme full of troubled families and watch that before you
think you have any answers. I am sure it is on iPlayer. Thank you.
Jo. Twas the week before the Christmas break and all through the
House not a creature was stirring, not even an MP. Well, not quite.
MPs have been holding backbench debates, but the legislation
workload has certainly dropped off throughout December. A number of
MPs have also taken the opportunity to start their foreign Christmas
breaks early, jetting off to warmer climes as the temperatures in
Westminster fall. So, is this a well deserved rest for our members
and chance for the Lords to get their heads around legislation, or
valuable debating time lost? Two MPs that haven't taken off are
Labour MP Thomas Docherty and, back by popular demand, Conservative MP
Peter Bone, who both join us now from the Commons. I hope you have
left that spot since we saw you last, Peter Bone?! Oh yes. Is the
Government slacking off before Christmas? It is unusual not to
have anything to do? I don't think so. We have come from the Chamber
where business questions are being discussed and there are demands
from lots of MPs for more and more debate. I think it is rather good
that the Government is enforcing more legislation through. We should
have less legislation, better scrutiny and better Acts of
Parliament. In terms of serious legislation, the Commons isn't and
hasn't looked at anything particularly meaty for weeks?
Government got it wrong? They had in a sense, that they rushed all
their stuff through at the beginning to make an impact. We
should have had more times to scrutinise that. We wouldn't be in
the situation where we are now where the Lords is having to do
most of the scrutiny. That is because the Government controls the
business of the Commons and when we get to a House Business Committee,
I think Parliament will improve. That is the reason for it. This is
really just a screw-up in terms of timings and calendar, isn't it? The
legislation has been looked at by the Commons and is now in the
Lords? The Commons did not get enough time to do due diligence on
these bills. Because the Government railroaded them through, they have
gone to the House of Lords who are taking a part in the most badly-
drafted bills. The Welfare Reform Bill was defeated and was led by a
former Secretary of State for Social Security. Given Peter has
nine bills that he is trying to introduce in the House of Commons
in the week ahead, I think if anybody needs to look at their own
regulation, it might be Peter. do you say to that? The Government
was really poor in allowing Private Members' Bills. One of the things
we have to do is to reform the House so a Private Members' Bill
can be debated. Can I come back to this point? Ill-judged and badly-
drafted legislation. That makes all of us cringe with the idea it is
going to have to be redone, it will have to be re-debated? We are
expecting some badly-drafted legislation to be passed here?
It should have been the Commons? This started up under Blair and
Brown when they introduced timetabling in the Commons. I would
like our guest here to my left to support the idea of getting rid of
programme motions because that's the problem, the Commons is
restricted on the time it has for debate. That doesn't happen in the
Lords. It was brought in by Labour. I would like to see that scrapped.
We will talk to Sally Morgan about that in a minute. This is all
fascinating for all of us in the Westminster village. Does the
public really take an interest in terms of the sort of process of
legislation and the timing that's devoted to it? The public has a
right to know that why is it the Government's whips collapsed the
business yesterday at 5.30 so they can go to a carol concert. Why did
we finish last week at 5.00 so they could go to a Christmas party? It
is not good for the taxpayer. that note, thank you both very much
in the House of Commons and Happy Christmas. Happy Christmas.
Lords seem to be coming into their own having plenty of time... We are
not finishing at 5.00! We are starting at 10.00 and working
through till 10.00 at night. We are doing detailed scrutiny of both the
Health and Welfare Reform Bills. it badly drafted? There is real
concern about the drafting. will be working right the way
through? We are working through to the end of next Wednesday. Glad to
hear it! That is great. We are not! Don't tell them! France could be
losing its AAA status. Am I looking at the right camera? Remember Cool
Britannia? A certain Prime Minister getting down with the kids,
entertaining BRIT popstars at Downing Street? I'm sure Sally
Morgan does. But does it work? Does a little bit of the stardust rub
off on the politicians? Can a good tune change the way we vote? Here's
The music studios in London. Some of the biggest names in pop have
prepared here. For a rock fan like me, I'm living the dream. There is
nothing worse than gentlemen of a certain age pretending they are
down with the kids and politicians are some of the worst offenders.
Gordon Brown and the Arctic Monkeys? Really? There has always
been the strong bond between music and politics. How powerful can a
song be? Who better to ask than Professor John Street. He's written
a book called Music and Politics. If you think about music and
musicians, you do see the use of music to drive political movements
of some considerable significance and produce an effect.
# Things can only get better. # Take this. Remind you of anything?
Me, too. A catchy tune can be a double edged sword. People point at
Things Can Only Get Better so when ever you see a New Labour story
clip on the TV, that will be the backdrop to it. It is easy to
overplay the impact that those things had at the time. The trouble
with that song is it is pathetic, it is an awful song. Ouch! Yet,
politicians are drawn to pop music and musicians like moths to a flame.
Do we like it? Politics is so desperately uncool at the moment.
Even more so than it ever was. It is too dangerous for politicians to
get involved in youth culture. you are not making any friends at
Westminster! Professor Street and I may not be getting backstage at the
next U2 gig. You can get pop stars that will put you off. Can we name
names? Bono could put people off, the causes he was advocating,
because he was almost too familiar, too much of a man who is always
advocating causes. Sorry, Bono. If there is one song which shows the
power of music can have over politics, it is this one:
# Feed the world. # We were all young once! We're
joined now by the Conservative MP and rock music fan who used to work
in the music industry, Mike Weatherley. Welcome to the
programme. Can you think of a song that has changed politics?
necessarily a song. There are musicians that have. Frank Zappa
campaigned against censorship. you think of one? Feed The World
captured the public mood. You don't see much political protest songs in
The X Factor? Music is about fun. This is true. That is what people
want to hear. They don't want to be preached at quite often. You agree
with that remark about Bono? A lot of people don't want to be preached
at. They want to have fun with music. Creative people do want to
give a message. Whose idea was Cool Britannia? Not mine! LAUGHTER Thank
you! Dry your hands. You made a pledge to the people of Hove that
you would wear your Iron Maiden T- shirt in the Commons, have you done
so? I have. Westminster Hall I have. I asked the Speaker if he would
give me permission, he said "no". They are very noisy! That's a genre
that I particularly like. You don't often hear that word on this
programme! Music is very important to our overseas earnings. We are
world beaters at it! It would make it uncool. All right. Stand up for
British music! We are the best! Time before we go to give you the
answer to yesterday's Guess The Year competition. It was 1987. The
first name gets one of our brand- new mugs. 11 more runners-up will
get one of the old ones! You can pick the winner of the brand-new
mug. This is the first-ever mug. Adam Williams, County Durham.
get the first new mug. Thanks to all our guests. I'll be back
tonight for This Week's Review of the Year with Michael Portillo,
Diane Abbott and Charles Kennedy. And George Clooney! And tomorrow at
noon, I'll be here with the final Daily Politics of 2011 and, as
Presented by Andrew Neil and Jo Coburn.
In the aftermath of the summer's riots, the government promises to turn around the lives of Britain's 120,000 troubled families. Will their £450m scheme do the trick?
There's a look at what can music do for politics, and why some MPs have already fled Westminster for their Christmas holiday. Two who are still there - Labour's Thomas Docherty and Conservative Peter Bone - join us from the Commons.
Plus, Baroness Sally Morgan, the former advisor to Tony Blair, and now chair of the schools' inspectorate Ofsted, joins Andrew and Jo throughout the show. Can parents, pupils and employers can trust our exam system?