Chalk Talk: More free schools won't necessarily mean more good schools
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 26 June 2014
Just a comment on the announcement of the next tranche of free schools by Education Secretary Michael Gove.
In revealing that an extra 38 schools had been approved, he said: "Free schools are giving thousands of children from ordinary backgrounds the kind of education previously reserved for the rich and lucky."
Ouch. His comment seems to fall into the category of "free schools good, all maintained schools bad" that has irked many people in the world of education in recent years. I doubt whether pupils who had been enrolled at New Discovery School in Crawley, West Sussex – which had to be closed because of poor standards – would agree with that. Or those at the Al-Madinah Academy in Derby, which is to stop educating secondary pupils after a damning Ofsted report.
Now, I am not an outright opponent of free schools – some of the proposals put forward have been highly imaginative and offered something that could not be obtained in the existing state sector. Witness the two bilingual free schools – one in German and the other in Spanish – that were opened as part of an earlier tranche of proposals.
But the idea that all of them offer the kind of education only previously available to the rich and lucky? I think not.
And now over to Sir Roderick Floud, former head of Universities UK – the body that represents vice-chancellors – and a former vice-chancellor of London Metropolitan University. In an interview with the Times Higher Education magazine, he intimated that half the country's universities should close down, as part of a reform of the current "messy, muddled" higher education system.
On the face of it, it's a point of view with which he would find quite a few people are in agreement with. Until you discover that among those he says should be closing their doors to students are Oxford and Cambridge (which, he says, should then concentrate on research). I just cannot hear the clarion call for that out there in the sector (or the wider world).
It seems to me a case of "nurse, pass the salts, please" – and make sure Sir Rodney gets them as soon as possible.
Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
The awkward moment Sarah Palin raised $25,000 for Hillary Clinton's election campaign
Ball pool for adults opens in London
Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
- 1 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 2 The awkward moment Sarah Palin raised $25,000 for Hillary Clinton's election campaign
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 Baldness could soon be treated using stem cells, scientists hope
£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...
£130 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Humanities Teacher Jan 2015 - July...
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Our exclusive client in St Albans Hertfords...
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Key Stage 2 Teachers needed in Hertfordshir...