Ham&High in-depth analysis: candidates quizzed by community (part 5)
PUBLISHED: 11:51 30 April 2010 | UPDATED: 16:57 07 September 2010
15) What are you going to do to ensure that Camden Council provides the permanent extra primary school places needed in NW3/6? GJ: I understand that Camden is using funding from the BSF to build a new primary school in the area. I am not saying it will
15) What are you going to do to ensure that Camden Council provides the permanent extra primary school places needed in NW3/6?
GJ: I understand that Camden is using funding from the BSF to build a new primary school in the area. I am not saying it will be immediate but there is already the expansion of Emmanuel School and St Paul's. And of course the new secondary school in Swiss Cottage. The problem is that the Labour council invested so much in schools and they are so good that they are oversubscribed. SCORE = 1
EF: I believe we should have a partnership in Camden between all the schools not just the state schools. There is no shortage of educational establishments on Fitzjohn's Avenue and a new primary school there is realistic. It could be the expansion of a school or a new one but it is achievable within 18 months or two years at the most. Courthope is a start but the solution needs to be a primary school. SCORE = 4
CP: Nationally we have outstanding plans to make it much easier for groups of parents and teachers and voluntary groups to set up new schools. The current government's bureaucracy makes it almost impossible to establish a new school which is why we have this problem. I fully support Camden Conservative's plan to identify a site for the new school by July. SCORE = 2
BC: What we have to do is elect a council that is committed to a vision of neighbourhoods that has children at the heart of them with children centres, primary schools and secondary schools on a scale that is managed and appropriately distributed throughout the borough. SCORE = 3
16) Bureaucratic regulation on all schools has grown so dramatically in recent years. What steps will your party take to reduce the burden of Bureaucratic regulation and to release the time and energy of school leaders for the proper support of students and teachers?
GJ: I would believe that if I hadn't seen what goes on in our schools both primary and secondary. The benchmark for me is the atmosphere in the school, attitude of the children and the way they interact with each other and the teachers. I have seen schools transformed over the past 13 years. When I was first elected schools were crumbling, now they are all fully equipped and children have access to computers. I do not buy this bureaucracy burden. It is certainly not affecting children. SCORE = 1
EF: I would scrap away targets and require transparency from schools for parents. In the case of some private schools I want to have a conversation about revising the charity commission requirements to make public benefit more visible and targets less numerous. I would fix the national curriculum in the favour of pupils and I am not in favour of a DIY education. My experience of working parents is the last thing they want to do is set up a school. We are not short of schools here we are short of conversations between public and private schools. SCORE = 4
CP: I completely agree. Too much money is wasted on central bureaucracy and too much teacher time is wasted administering it. We would get more money to the frontline and more money into the classroom and free up teachers and headteachers to do their job. SCORE = 3
BC: I sigh at the assumption that bureaucracy is always bad when very often it is the way of doing business. We cannot live without it. What is it about bureaucracy that is driving people mad? I suspect this question goes to the route of the way in which schools are managed. If you create a great distance like we have between local authorities and the management of schools then they become responsible for a huge amount of administration and I suppose I would relieve them of that and reinstate a more appropriate relationship between the local authority and the school. I know the conservatives actually want to increase the opportunities for parents to run their own schools and parents say to me 'why would we ever want to do that?' I want my children to walk to school and be safe and be well educated. That is what people want. That is what they have got in Finland. Why can't we have it here?" SCORE = 1
17) How are you planning to build and maintain current interest in contemporary art in Britain?
GJ: I find contemporary art very interesting. I have always campaigned for arts to be funded by the state because they are a national treasure and there should be proper funding. But when the national cake gets a bit small they along with others are going to take a share. SCORE = 1
EF: This is one of the most cultural areas in the country but we do not have a public sense of it at all. Our public art is limited here and we should have a re-evaluation of public art. There should be more outside train stations, schools, on platforms and more murals. We should also sponsor local artists. One of the ways America got out of the depression in the 30s was to sponsor the arts. SCORE = 2
CP: We believe in giving creative organisations that are government funded more freedom on how they spend their budget to ensure we encourage a flourishing interest in the arts. SCORE = 2
BC: You have to fund it. The politicians have to create the context in which cultural workers can do the thing which is their passion. 90 per cent of actors in Britain are out of work. It is astounding and a tiny percentage of graduates from universities will ever work in a cultural industry. SCORE = 3
18) Is it true that not one of the three principal parties is willing to tell the truth about the UK economy, since it would alienate the electors and mean that one of the other parties got elected? The truth in this context that there has to be either an immediate significant rise in taxation or an immediate significant cut in expenditure or some combination of the two. Otherwise the credit of the UK will be damaged and disaster will ensue through higher interest rates.
GJ: No. All the parties agree what the problem is. The difference is how we would tackle it. We have been very clear that this delicate recovery must be supported - the Conservatives would pull the plug and I am not quite sure what the others would do. SCORE = 1
EF: Vince Cable has spelt it out and my impression is people trust him. The objective is to make him chancellor. SCORE = 3
CP: No. We need to realise savings to enable us to get taxes down. Only by achieving that tax break can we encourage businesses to create jobs. This will require tough choices and we are prepared to make them. SCORE = 1
BC: What is astounding about this election is the great silence about what has caused this economic crisis - a derailed and course kind of casino capitalism that makes millions by not making anything but money and betting on debt. It is absolutely astounding. I think none of the political parties are tackling the fundamental problem with our economic system. SCORE = 4
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Ham&High. Click the link in the orange box above for details.