It’s a rare sight when a former Tory education minister is applauded at a Labour Party Conference fringe meeting.
Lord Baker was at the Labour Party conference yesterday (Monday). As he walked around the exhibition area, there were a number of amazed glances; a number of MPs approached him to inquire what he was doing there.
But at a packed TES fringe meeting, billed as ‘Three education ministers walk into a bar’, Labour Party delegates enthusiastically applauded Mrs Thatcher’s Secretary of State for Education and current Chair of Edge. Even one high profile teacher’s union leader was heard to be in agreement.
Lord Baker was sharing the platform with Lord Knight, the Labour schools minister in the Blair government, and David Laws, who had been schools minister in the coalition government.
Lord Baker said he would abolish the Gove reforms, EBacc and Progress 8; technical education should be better funded. He also called for the end of examination at age 16. He told delegates that we are not prepared for the fourth industrial revolution.
However there wasn’t complete agreement with Lord Baker. His suggestion that there is too much emphasis on students taking a foreign language and that more attention on computer science is required, met with some debate.