Chalk talk: Free school that plans to separate the boys from the girls
Richard Garner has been Education Editor of The Independent for 12 years and writing about the subject for 34 years. Before becoming a journalist, he worked as a disc jockey in London pubs and clubs and for a hospital radio station. His main hobbies are cricket (watching these days) and theatre. On his days off, he is most likelt to be found at Lord’s or the King’s Head Theatre Club.
Thursday 12 September 2013
If at first you don't succeed... Regular Independent readers may recall that I championed the cause of a proposed free school in Lewisham, south London, which aimed to persuade local youth to stay away from gang culture.
The brainchild of two black teachers, Kay Johnston and Anne Broni, it sought to guarantee work-experience places for all school leavers. It received the backing of Cambridge University, which was prepared to run summer schools for the pupils to give them a glimpse of university life.
Yet the scheme was turned down not once but twice by the Department for Education, which led to claims from Dr Michael Hrebeniak, the Cambridge admissions tutor who also championed their cause, of racism and sexism in the decision-making process.
Undeterred, the two teachers are putting in a new application for the school, Diaspora High School, to be given the go-ahead later this month. They are also putting forward proposals for a second free school. to be called Diaspora Diamond School, which should open in 2015 (the original school could open in 2014) and be an all-through school encompassing both primary and secondary education.
One interesting feature of the second school is that it will only be co-educational in the reception year and sixth form – the rest of the pupils will be taught in single-sex classes. Kay Johnston said the decision had been taken as a result of parental demand – as parents had been asking for a similar facility at the first school. "This will allow us to address the learning styles of boys and girls," said Ms Johnston.
As with the first school, it is an interesting proposal and I wish them luck. One thing in their favour is that the DfE is planning to up the ante on free proposals – preparing during the next 12 months for three separate announcements of new schools rather than just the one that it has been having up until now.
Also, Labour has indicated that any schools in the pipeline which have been given the go-ahead before a possible change of government will be allowed to open as planned.
Germanwings captain Patrick Sondenheimer tried to break into locked cockpit door 'with an axe' as plane was descending
Amanda Knox murder conviction: Italian court overturns verdict for US student and Raffaele Sollecito in the killing of Meredith Kercher
Saudi Arabia says it won't rule out building nuclear weapons
The battle for the Middle East's future begins in Yemen as Saudi Arabia jumps into the abyss
#FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Germanwings plane crash live: Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz wanted to 'do something people would remember him for'
- 1 Finland schools: Subjects scrapped and replaced with 'topics' as country reforms its education system
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
- 4 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
- 5 Zayn Malik quits One Direction: Hundreds of workers request compassionate leave following band member's exit
£25,880 – £28,610 per annum: Imperial College London: Imperial College London ...
£26,976 - £31,614 per annum: University College London: UCL Information Servic...
£30 - 32k (DOE): Guru Careers: We are seeking an Instructional / e-Learning De...
£30500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Schools Education & Careers Executive ...