PROPOSALS for police commissioners to take charge of schools for troubled children has raised alarm.
Home secretary Theresa May unveiled plans for more powers for elected Police and Crime Commissioners, including to run ‘free schools’ for challenging youngsters.
She said PCCs could branch into areas of youth justice, probation and court services after the elections in May.
She added PCCs should ‘bring together the two great reforms of the last parliament – police reform and school reform’ to establish ‘alternative provision of free schools to support troubled children and prevent them falling into a life of crime’.
Free schools have greater freedoms from local authorities but are sanctioned and funded by government.
West Midlands police commissioner David Jamieson – a former headteacher with more than 25 years’ education experience – said he was ‘uncertain’ about the proposals.
Mr Jamieson said: “Before becoming an MP and a PCC, I was a teacher and headteacher for more than 25 years. I must confess, this idea of reuniting with my former profession has come out of the blue and I’m not sure it’s top of the class – I thought my school days were over.
“I am uncertain that PCCs running schools fits entirely within our brief or, more importantly, is the best thing for children. Schools should be run by teachers and education experts.
“I note the home secretary’s praise of the innovative work of PCCs the last few years.
“I am particularly proud of the record we have here in the West Midlands. We have set up the country’s first Victims’ Commission, recruited new officers and made stop and search more proportionate.
“We have also introduced a new approach to supporting people with mental health needs so they are now much less likely to end up in police cells or hospital and invested in a new partnership with the NHS to reduce violent crime.
“We have also more than doubled the number of officers working on crimes like domestic violence, child abuse and human trafficking.”