Asked about the Chancellor’s thinking as he headed into G7 meetings in Marseille, the Prime Minister’s Spokesperson (PMS) said the Chancellor had set out his views in a speech on Tuesday.
Put that some people were interpreting what the Head of the IMF said this morning as suggesting that those who cut the deficit too quickly were unwise while other people were saying that she had been fully supportive, the PMS said that she had said our policy stance was appropriate.
Asked why in his speech this morning the Prime Minister had not referred to any local authority run schools when some of them were doing better or just as well as academies, the PMS said the Prime Minister was using examples to illustrate a specific point. The government thought that academies were an effective tool in driving up standards. The point he was making in his speech was that we’ve been very successful in turning around failing schools and we should also be looking more broadly at those schools that were coasting to see whether they could achieve the same gains. What the Prime Minister was saying was that we needed to raise standards across the piece and should expect the highest standards from all our schools. The Prime Minister had made this point in Cabinet this week. Some schools had had amazing success in improving results and there was no reason why that experience couldn’t be brought to bare on other schools including those schools that were doing, just ok, the coasting schools.
Asked whether the Prime Minister was redefining coasting schools as failing schools and the implications of that, the PMS said the Prime Minister was not redefining coasting schools as failing schools; there were specific definitions of under performing or failing schools. What the Prime Minister was saying was that we should have the same ambition to improve for those schools which are just coasting and are not seeing improvements as we have for failing schools. If bringing in new management, having greater freedoms and giving more power to teachers had real benefits for pupils in failing schools, we should use the same approach for other schools and drive up standards across the piece.
Asked about President Obama’s speech to Congress last night, the PMS said that the Chancellor had said in his speech on Tuesday that every country needed to have a response which was appropriate to its particular circumstances. The US was in a different position to other countries because of its reserve currency and did not therefore face the same constraints. In addition, if you looked at what Obama had said yesterday, he had been very clear that the American Jobs Act would not add to the deficit and that following on from the agreement in July which cut Government spending, he would be looking for more measures to cover the full cost of the Jobs Act.
Asked if the Chancellor was saying that we couldn’t do what Obama was doing because we were not a reserve currency, the PMS said the Chancellor was making the point that every country needs to have a response that reflects its own circumstances. Those countries which faced particular fiscal risks needed to take action to address their deficits and to consolidate.