Jo Coburn and Richard Moss are here with the top political stories of the week.
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Here: Are schools in the North being pressurised into becoming
academies with promises of extra funds? We report from Cumbria.
This woman can't get the internet at home - we are in County Durham
Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2231 seconds
finding out what life is like in Hello and a very warm welcome to
your local part of the show. Coming up: This woman can't get onto the
internet, and she's not alone. We report from County Durham on life
in the broadband slow lane. And we'll be finding out why a
North East peer is walking 3,000 miles from Greece to London.
First, the worst performing primary schools, 16 of them in Cumbria and
the North East, are going to be closed down and re-opened as
academies outside the control of the local council. It is the latest
Government move to create more academies, an idea conceived by
Tony Blair a decade ago. As well as greater freedoms, new academy
schools can expect to receive more money. But is that promise of extra
resources forcing some schools into taking on academy status for fear
of losing out if they don't? Emily Unia reports from Cumbria. Lunch
time at this Academy in Workington. Leicester Pembroke it was the first
school in Cumbria to take up the new offer from the government for
Outstanding Schools to leave local a authority control and convert to
academy status. For pupils there is a new name a new uniform, but for
those running the school it means no more queuing for handouts.
Primarily for us it was about freedom. Money was a factor because
having the full funding entitlement for our children was also very
important. Local a authorities take at portioned of all school budgets
to spend on their behalf and schools like ours that do well
achieve good results, don't cause any problems, don't get overlooked
when the carving up of the General Pot's is made. Fight this all to
Muff 50 more schools in Cumbria could become academies and it seems
money is a motive. The fact is most of them are converting because they
cannot afford not to convert. government give councils money to
spend on education. The councils give most of that money to schools
but they keep come of - - some of the back. But Academy Schools
sidestepped the councils and get the money directly from central
government. None of it is taken away. They paid for support
services themselves. That is the attraction for schools like this.
Critics say that the drive for more academies his divisive. It is
trying to bribe the better schools into becoming academies. This is a
good school. Why should it take it money from other schools in the
area? That is quite an immoral stance, because you then think it
is I'm all right, Jack. If you look much wider and have properly funded
education throughout, then that is much better. The pleas from bomb
macro this school decided not to become an academy. Mistakes and
education budgets may mean that figure is revised, but that this
central academy in Carlisle there is a word of warding two heads
pursuing academy status for money alone. I hope they are not. If they
are it is really naive and a short- term approach. Education is about
the life chances of the children in our care. That is a long business.
Any school that becomes an academy just for money has not worked out
what this is all about. At the County Council, a decision by two
leading schools to stay with the local authority is a vote of
confidence in uncertain times. But there is no room for complacency.
If more and more start to leave it will impact upon what money we have
available for services. We're hopeful that by strengthening our
services that people can buy them from us. The government says that
academies have raised standards. But by once the worst performing
primaries to make the switch, too. It expects high-achieving schools
like this one to lend a helping hand.
Well, let's talk about academy schools now with Mary Glindon, the
Labour MP for North Tyneside, and Darlington councillor Ian Galletley,
who is chairman of the Conservatives in the North East.
You voted against the Government's Academy Schools legislation.
Government has really turned is on the head. It was about turning
schools around, about failing schools and helping people. Now it
seems that money is an element and it isn't just about redressing
inequalities. The announcement by Michael Gove that feeling primaries
should become academies, that is tackling the schools that have
failed. But, again, the worry is that he is taking 200 out of 1400.
That premise school we just all, it was a primate that was performing
well. The other issue is, is that the right way to do it? If the
schools are failing... I suppose the idea is that it has failed
under the council so let's give it another chance. But at what cost?
Expanding this programme and slicing many of the education
Budget, taking more schools out of the control of councils who I
believe to a good job, to me does not seem right. He is doing this in
a week and there has been a chaotic situation around money that is
going to the schools, as well. There is a funding inequality being
built into the schools. If you become an academy you do a lot
better. There is a dispute about how this funding has been arrive
that that has to be resolved. There is a fundamental argument here
about the future of education in the whole country. I just want an
answer as to whether or not this is bribery. That would seem like a
good argument for not having local a authorities at all because the
schools are funded directly there would not be a need to proportion
its in line with somebody else as criteria. I can we have a model of
education based on a model of being funded by the government, provided
they are professional people and the clients being families. Like a
we just have those three? Were his this local authority to income
from? It is history. Is it not making sure that certain services
are provided on a cost-effective basis centrally? Yes, but it is
justifying the way education is currently organised saying that
schools must fit in with local authority. You are democratically
elected as a councillor. Surely that is a good thing that these
councils have some authority over local schools. By people who have
never worked in schools have to say so on how schools could be
organised? What right have they got to tell teachers how to run schools
and to instruct parents on what to demand of the school? My camper to
just go straight to each other? Headteachers are in the best
position on how to run a school. But everyone has the role to play.
All schools have governing bodies and largely the governing body
operate the Budget and they make the decisions within the schools.
As a school governor who has never been a teacher of a smiling their
because working with their head teachers you have a vast array of
people on the governing bodies. I think that works very well.
this double can still be on the governing body, it is just making
sure that the head teacher has control of the Budget. That is how
the link is made. The local- authority is always there as their
main stay he can refer back to you have the expertise to advise. When
we are talking about funding, the schools to decide to remains within
the local authorities are going to suffer when the schools that go
through two academies take more of the funding. Why should the most
successful schools gain while some of the schools that stay in the
system but do not successful lose? Let's look at what the point of
this week's statement about the 200 schools been taken out of local-
authority control. There is a really good argument for change.
But why isn't that happening at secondary schools? Why isn't the
Government not just saying that every school become an academy?
Because a volunteer is worth 10 pressed men. You can just instruct
people when I did change education. Let's look at the school stands
have become academies this week. 200 schools. Hundreds of thousands
of children who have been in the care of local authorities for
generations and still those schools are failing. I think you'll find
very soon... but the fact that these schools are going to be
�300,000 per if they don't become academies. The Labour Party is
wedded to local authority control. They're keen enthusiasts of
political control of schools in some regional council role. We have
a difference of view. We think that the best relationship for schools
is government money, teacher provides a service, families accept
it or don't. But is the new model on which schools should be built.
If you have this discussion in seven years' time, it will be
abnormal to be in a local authority school. It seems that people like
Tony and Clare - - it seems that Tony Blair would still be doing the
City was in government. Looking at the actual fact, the issue is this
government is about competition. We have seen it in the health service.
This is going to set schools against each other and schools that
become academies will be the top of the heap. Thank you both very much.
Now, many of us take the internet for granted these days whether
booking train tickets, doing your shopping or catching up on the news.
It's even more important if you are running a business. The Government
has promised to provide the "best broadband in Europe" by 2015 and is
funding four pilot schemes to help connect rural areas. One of them in
Penrith. Yet in large parts of the North there is still no fast
broadband connection available, and in some places no access to the
internet at all. I went to County Durham to find out more.
The car is a vital part of staying connected in the countryside. When
this may be get some, the connections are not so good.
Getting online in this part of TI's deal is nearly impossible. We can
get anything. They have sent 13 in juniors around, British Telecom,
but they can help. We can do shop, book tickets, research. The
children's education in the area is suffering. On a neighbouring farm,
the lack of the services causing problems. The government is
expecting our farmed the sent off VAT, income tax, like stock
movement records all through the Internet and it is becoming
impossible. This community is not alone. 36 % of those in Bishop
Auckland can get a decent broadband connection. Backers of but 30 % and
North Durham and 46 % in north-west Durham. 87,000 people in the county
are struggling to connect. The council did bid for 9 billion - -
�9 million to help getting people get connected. On this occasion �50
million was told that the Hampshire, Wiltshire, Somerset and Devon, and
County Durham got nothing. there will mean is that will put
places like the north-east into digital still lame. That has a
massive impact on businesses, maintaining businesses. We have
been told of house-owners not been prepared to move to the area. We
need this. It is important to business as access to roads,
realNetworks etc. In North Yorkshire more communities are
getting connected. People like Carol have had to fight for it. She
decided to do something about it. Be printed off 400 letters and went
round putting them through all the letterboxes of the neighbouring
villages and arranged a meeting in the local pub and it went on from
there. They resulted in the service we now have. The Conservatives said
that rural communities can make a difference by taking control of
their own destinies. This is a distancing feature between this
government and the last one. Looking at my constituency in North
Yorkshire, the most rural county in England, those communities are
coming together and defining what they want for their businesses and
the environment and then defining that am working with the providers
and central government. Will people power be enough? Labour says rural
areas will not be connected unless the Government invests more. That
two megabytes by 2015 target seems very minimal. Of the state is
better than nothing. To do most of the pains that businesses and
schoolchildren want to do, it won't really meet their needs. What about
Mary? There she hopeful of a new done by 2015? I am not holding my
breath. Maybe we will have moved by them because he wants to live in a
place where you have got no communication with other people.
Rural communities and the government can only hope that other
people are prepared to hang on a bit longer.
And you can find out which parts of the North East and Cumbria have the
best, and worst, broadband connections on my blog. Just log
onto bbc.co.uk/richardmoss. That's if you've got the internet, of
course! Now, most talk about the Olympics
so far has centred around the difficulty of obtaining tickets.
And, no, I didn't get any either! But for one member of the House of
Lords, the North East Peer Michael Bates, there is far bigger issues
at stake. To prove the point he is currently walking from Olympia in
Greece all the way to London. That is an incredible 3,000 miles. The
aim is to try and bring some peace to parts of the world beset by
violence and war. This sun is beating down and the
scenery is spectacular, but this is no stroll in the park. It is a walk
with the purpose for Conservative peer Michael Bates. He is taking
time out to try to raise awareness of one aspect of the Olympic Games
that most people have never even heard about, the Olympic truce.
problem is that fighting men cannot lay down their arms voluntarily
because they look weak. You need to provide them with an opportunity
where they can look manly and yet stop killing each other. The idea
of the Games was conceived. A period of truce covered it. That
ran for 1200 years. Violations were extremely rare, one or two in 1200
years. The truce still accompanies every Olympic Games and is now part
a of a United Nations resolution. Rarely does any country do anything
to make it happen. The resolution only asks that you take initiatives
for reconciliation during the period of the Games. If other
people don't agree to the truce, there can be no truce! What it is
saying is we have given a solemn undertaking the four of the General
Assembly of the United Nations that we will do something. If we don't
that we can do it, we shouldn't sign it. If we do signed its, we
should implement it. This time Michael Bates wants it to be
different. He hopes that by October they UK government will take the
tray seriously. Local seer are willing to give him the benefit of
the doubt. I am walking to London. But this critic - - quite a typical
reaction. I am 75 years old. I will never stop saying that we are crazy.
It is a very good action doing this, because I cannot do that. So, 500
miles into the 3000 mile journey, there is a long way to go. But for
Lord be its this to be a price worth paying for a short pause in
conflicts around the world. Our thanks to Sam Farmar for
letting us use those pictures. And we'll keep you posted with Michael
Bates' progress over the next few months. And, finally, if you live
in Darlington there is a chance to put your questions directly to the
man running the local council next week. Bill Dixon will be taking