Liberal Democrat councillors in Haringey were disappointed on Monday night when Haringey Labour failed to address significant failings in the Government’s white paper on education. These policies would have a significant negative effect on the quality of education in Haringey.

In a debate at the Council, Labour proposed wording that criticised some aspects of the white paper, but they did not accept a Lib Dem suggestion that highlighted other serious failings. In particular, the Labour motion did not address the issue of the potential sell-off of school playing fields, or proper stakeholder involvement in the Council’s response.

Cllr Gail Engert (Muswell Hill), Lib Dem Education spokesperson who proposed the amendment, comments:

“I am glad that Haringey Labour have accepted there are serious flaws in the education white paper. But it is very disappointing that Haringey Council failed to take note of all the implications of these dangerous policies. There has been almost universal disbelief that Labour are attempting to push these Tory policies through Parliament and we needed the Council to take a stronger stand than this.

“I am also disappointed that the Executive Member will be responding to the white paper on behalf of the Council without proper stakeholder consultation. Our amendment called for teachers, parent groups and young people to be consulted on our Council’s response, but Labour rejected this.”

Cllr Matt Davies (Lib Dem, Fortis Green), whose ward includes Fortismere School, adds:

“Allowing schools to sell-off land for commercial development will put many of Haringey’s schools at a funding disadvantage, as they have little or no disposable land. But in their motion Labour ignored the other serious implication of this policy – those schools that do have valuable land may be forced into selling it off for commercial development. This would lead to the irrevocable loss of playing fields and other facilities, which are vital to the overall education and health of children in Haringey.”