19/06/2011 The Politics Show North East and Cumbria


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


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