The inquisition cometh … ‘Off with their heads!’

Here comes a candle to light you to bed
And here comes a chopper to chop off your head

 The Centre for Policy Studies today publishes a report ‘School Quangos – a blueprint for abolition and reform’ .

Here is the summary of the recommendations and their potential implications!  Radical, political (from the Conservative side), interesting, scary, void opening, blue sky thinking, baby and bathwater context … I sense bumpy times ahead.

Take a deep breath and open the wine and read on:

While politicians have repeatedly called for reducing the size and influence of quangos, little has been achieved. This paper analyses the 11 quangos (with public funding of £1.2 billion in 2007/08) which have the greatest impact on schools. Most of these quangos have grown hugely in recent years (for many, their budgets have – in real terms – increased by between 10% and 15% a year). This has happened while the DCSF has published data to show that its own productivity has fallen by 0.7% a year. This report details how the functions of these quangos can either be abolished, or transferred to the Department or moved out of state control.


  • The QCA (shortly to become the QCDA and Ofqual) should be abolished. Schools should be free to develop their own curriculum. A small, unpaid Curriculum Advisory Board should be created which would draw up a curriculum to reflect the standards required for success in academic, vocational and higher education.
  • Ofqual should be only responsible for ensuring the validity, reliability and equivalence of examinations. It should be reconstituted so that it is comprised of university professors, leading head teachers and other leaders in academic disciplines.
  • Ofsted should focus exclusively on inspecting failing schools. More attention should be given to classroom inspection and less to desk analysis.
  • The TDA should be abolished. Teacher training should be employment-based. Trainee teachers should be funded through a voucher scheme.
  • The NCSL (and the mandatory nature of the NPQH), Becta, 11 MILLION, Teachers’ TV, and STRB should all be abolished, while the remit and funding of PfS should be reduced.
  • The GTC and SFT should become voluntary organisations and should receive no government funding.

The above recommendations would:

  • reduce government spending by £633 million;
  • liberate schools from much of the stifling central control that is currently undermining initiative;
  • reduce the bureaucratic burden on head teachers and teachers;
  • make the teaching profession more attractive to talented.

The BBC’s Angela Harrison, reports ‘ Call for quango cull in education’ and has comments from Becta, TDA, QCDA, GTC and NCSL .

I do think that at this moment this is kite flying pending the next general election to see what people think or what they will put up with. Brilliant idea to put into minds that in a recession you hit a quango (or lots of them) to potentially save money. The knock on effects of such policy could (or even should) be enormous … the butterfly flapping its wings causing a hurricane.


Original image: ‘Maria Antonia Josepha Johanna von Habsburg-Lothringen (Marie Antoinette)’
by: Kevin Dooley

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