Why has Chope criticised Brighton and Hove Council?

On Tuesday in the House of Commons the Department of Education answered a question that Christopher Chope had sent over in written format. Mr Chope is the MP for Christchurch which is in Dorset so he is based many miles away from Sussex although he was an MP in Southampton from 1983-1992 before he lost his first constituency. His question related to Brighton and Hove in the context of education. As it happens he was located in a Prepatory School in Eastbourne as a child, but given that he is now 75 that was very many years ago. There are no indications from his many years in Parliament that he has spoken about Brighton and Hove previously with one exception which was back in 2013 when he referred to “The Brighton declaration is being carried forward by means of draft protocol 15 to the European convention on human rights.” This referred to a Brighton conference focusing on Court issues. It would be very interesting to understand why as a Dorset MP he has asked this question? The answer made it clear that the question did not have any significance. Indeed the link in the answer was to a couple of documents available from the Government one of which is entitled “Political Impartiality in Schools” and the other one “What you need to know about political impartiality in schools” and there is no reference in either of these documents to Brighton and Hove or indeed to Sussex. Here is the question and answer:

Christopher Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish his Department’s review of Brighton and Hove Council’s Anti-Racist Education Strategy; and if he will make an assessment of whether Brighton and Hove Council is fully compliant with his Department’s guidelines on political impartiality in schools.

Robin Walker: The department has worked with the sector to publish guidance that supports schools to teach about complex political issues, in line with their legal duties on political impartiality. This guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/political-impartiality-in-schools.

On being made aware of the issues raised in respect of Brighton and Hove City Council’s strategy, department officials contacted the local authority to understand the detail of the matter and to ensure that the local authority was aware of their duties on political impartiality. It is for local authorities to ensure that they meet their legal requirements in respect of political impartiality in schools and to respond to complaints. The department would not normally intervene in a complaint about a local authority unless the local complaints process had been followed to conclusion. The department has not carried out a review of the strategy and is not planning to do so at this stage.

So the question from many of us is why was a Dorset MP raising questions about Brighton and Hove City Council, given there are no indications that he has been based here or indeed has ever had concerns previously?

About ianchisnall

I am passionate about the need for public policies to be made accessible to everyone, especially those who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am particularly interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as health services and strategic planning.
This entry was posted in Brighton & Hove, Education, Parliament and Democracy, Youth Issues and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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