State schools 'need private investment': Surplus places and red tape hinder expansion
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
- 1 President of Argentina adopts Jewish godson to 'stop him turning into a werewolf'
- 2 Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing
- 3 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 5 Sir Winston Churchill’s family begged him not to convert to Islam, letter reveals
President of Argentina adopts Jewish godson to 'stop him turning into a werewolf'
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing
Syrian teenager Usaid Barho reveals how he escaped from Isis using a suicide vest
Sir Winston Churchill’s family begged him not to convert to Islam, letter reveals
UK weather: 'Coldest night of the year' tonight as freezing temperatures plummet to -10C
Millions of Britons struggling to feed themselves and facing malnourishment
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Nigel Farage: Ukip leader named 'Briton of the year' by The Times
Douglas Carswell tells Ukip to stop blaming foreigners as youth poll shows Nigel Farage is even less popular than Nick Clegg
£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...
£22000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...
£20000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is a global marketin...
£17000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...