Education Letters: Richmond and the Swedish model

In your article on the Swedish schools model ("DIY learning? Not here, thanks" EDUCATION & CAREERS, 9 October), your writer makes several incorrect statements. It is twice stated that Richmond Council has given the go-ahead for Kunskapsskolan to take over Hampton Community College and Whitton School. This is not the case. What we have approved are the Expression of Interest documents, which outline the proposal for those schools to become Kunskapsskolan-sponsored academies.

But there is a significant number of issues that will need to be resolved before we will actually proceed to implementation.

Chief among these is how the Kunskapsskolan model of learning will be adapted to the demands of the national curriculum. Improving our secondary schools is a key priority for this council, and no agreement will be finalised with any sponsor until we are absolutely sure that educational and pastoral needs for our pupils will be met so that they will all achieve to their best of their ability.

Academies in Richmond upon Thames are not yet a done deal – we have a lot of work to do yet.

Cllr Serge Lourie

Leader of Richmond upon Thames Council

Your article highlighted the dangers of bringing an untried model, used in some small schools in Sweden, to large state secondary schools, even if they are not as tough as indicated. It did not, however, make clear that for parents in a large area of Richmond, there would be no alternative to this experiment.

The Swedish model relies on a high level of self-motivation, which is unfamiliar to secondary-school students, and the personalised learning is only a time-flexible option, which may not be appropriate for our prescriptive national curriculum. Some parts of the model, such as talking to students individually and with parents to set targets, are already widely practised.

If the Government believes this is a valid solution, it should fund a new purpose-built school, rather than try to bludgeon a new square peg into the round hole of an improving school.

You also highlight the wider problem of the academy programme being pushed out from the centre as an instant "radical" solution, rather than allowing communities to find their own solutions with similar funding. The article omits any reference to the £25m available to sponsors, but not to education authority or governors. Why not have a wider range of options at a local level under the academy banner? Academies are an unproven solution, despite political claims to the contrary.

Kevin Rice

Hampton, Middlesex

Send letters to: The Editor, Education, 'The Independent', Independent House, 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS (with daytime phone number); fax: 020-7005 2143; email: education@independent.co.uk; letters may be edited for length and clarity

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
voices
News
general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
News
Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge show their newly-born daughter, their second child, to the media outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in central London, on 2 May 2015.
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Ashdown Group: Systems Engineer - Linux - Central London

£40000 - £48000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Engineer - Linux ...

Ashdown Group: Linux Systems Administrator - Windows, Linux - Central London

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Linux Systems Administrat...

Recruitment Genius: Nursery Manager

£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Nursery Manager is required t...

Ashdown Group: Systems Engineer - Windows, Linux - Central London

£40000 - £48000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Engineer - Windo...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before