State schools 'need private investment': Surplus places and red tape hinder expansion

THE GOVERNMENT should free up the education market and break down the barriers between state and independent schools by making it easier for the private sector to invest in new schools and facilities, a former education minister argues in a pamphlet published today.

Michael Fallon, who lost his job as Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Education when he lost his Commons seat at the last election, says that the system for investing in schools is 'bureaucratic and fossilised'.

Although ministers have succeeded in liberalising demand, by enabling parents to decide which school they would prefer for their children, they have failed to open up the supply of places. Government policy and local authority bureaucracy has 'prevented good schools from developing organically, and poor schools from closing'.

Good schools cannot expand, and the state pressure to control wasteful surplus places prevents new state schools from opening; only about 20 new schools open each year against a total of 24,000. Pressures on public spending mean that only about one- third of schools' need for big projects can be satisfied each year.

He suggests that independent schools and other private enterprises could co-operate with state schools to provide new facilities such as language laboratories and sports halls, by sharing their costs and use. Mutual contracts would enable schools to share teaching.

There is no reason, he says, why the state should own all the educational buildings used by schools. 'If the choice is between waiting years for brand new facilities, and using a private complex, there is no choice.'

Mr Fallon calls for the abolition of the 'basic need' rule, which prevents any school from expanding or a new one being built if there are spare places at any similar schools within a two- or three-mile radius. The problem of 1.5 million empty desks continues mainly because there is no incentive to close schools when parents have to send their children to them.

Brighter Schools; Social Market Foundation, 20 Queen Anne's Gate, London SW1H 9AA; pounds 6.

Leading article, page 25

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Bathroom Showroom Manager / Bathroom Sales Designer

£22 - £25k basic + Commission=OTE £35k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Bathroom Sh...

Guru Careers: Marketing Executive / Digital Marketing Executive

COMPETITIVE: Guru Careers: A Marketing / Digital Marketing Executive (CRM, Eve...

Recruitment Genius: Finance Controller / Manager

£32000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Surrey based company in the rep...

Recruitment Genius: Locksmith / Security Engineer - London & Southern Counties

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This provider of home security ...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones