Richard Garner: Diaspora School plan deserved much better treatment

The Government could have offered help in putting these ideas into practice
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The Independent Online

What is blindingly obvious about the Diaspora High School proposal is that its plans for tackling gang culture are just what the education system needs in the area of south London it would serve.

Teachers Kay Johnston and Anne Broni have their fingers on the pulse when it comes to suggesting remedies to stop the knifings and murders.

In one sense, it is not rocket science to come up with the idea of giving every teenager work experience to avoid their going straight out on to the streets on leaving school.

I am not expert enough to decide whether Ms Johnston and Ms Broni are capable of delivering everything they promise.

The trouble is, I suspect, neither are the members of the free school group at the Department for Education who sat in judgement on them and decided they had less chance of success than another proposal that had failed to convince a single parent to put it down as their first-choice school. By contrast, the proposed Diaspora school was flooded with applications.

Surely, instead of just rejecting Diaspora, it was at least incumbent on the Government to see if it could offer any help in putting these ideas into practice.

It is not good enough simply to say no and leave the area with the status quo in terms of education provision – a status quo rejected by many parents who want to send their children to Diaspora High School.