FOR DECADES, the major political parties have played the ‘blame game’. When Labour was last in power, any inaction on its part was the fault of the Tories. Today Theresa May, and her Ministers, point to the legacy of the Blair and Brown administrations for being unable to spend more money on key services.
Not only has such partisanship polarised public debate, but it also means that the Government – and other agencies – are too slow to respond when there are genuine issues requiring urgent action. Education, and the funding of assistance for disruptive pupils, or those with special learning needs, is one such example which should be transcending party politics.
As a former teacher, Emma Hardy, the Labour MP for Hull West and Hessle, is well qualified to highlight ‘offloading’ – the practice where schools appear to expel troublesome or poor performing students so not to compromise their place in league tables. She’s right. Not enough thought has been given to how to oversee such youngsters so they don’t become even more susceptible to criminality.
And it is the same with Tory peer Margaret Eaton who says funding has not kept pace with the increase in the number of young people with special needs As a one-time leader of Bradford Council, and former Chair of the Local Government Association, she again speaks with experience.
Both Yorkshire politicians also recognise that the pupils on the receiving end of Government policies are some of the most vulnerable members of society and it is time that Ministers did likewise when framing their response to these timely interventions.