Leading article: A cautious welcome for a bold scheme

Share
Related Topics

We should welcome the Education Secretary Michael Gove's new "free" schools – run by a variety of parents, teachers and faith groups. Some will provide a breath of fresh air with innovative thinking – like the re-arranging of the school year to avoid long summer holidays introduced at Aldborough E-ACT primary school in Redbridge, one of two to open yesterday. Research shows a shorter summer break can have a beneficial effect on the standards its recipients attain during the ensuing school year.

In addition, since we have a system whereby faith schools exist for some religions, we can have no qualms about allowing Hindus and Sikhs to run their own. Both communities open free schools this September. It is also welcome news that – of 323 bids – only 24 were approved as a sign that considerable rigour is being shown by civil servants assessing the proposals. One major fear this new legislation provoked was that an extremist group could get funding for a school by the back door.

Having welcomed the idea in principle, though, there are two caveats. There is nothing wrong in free schools serving, as Nicola Perry, principal of Aldborough, said yesterday, "aspirational" parents. But we would encourage them to play their part in improving the life chances of children whose parents are not aspirational, too.

Also some proposed schools, which have obvious educational merit – in particular in tackling the gang culture in places like Lewisham, south London, have failed to find a way through the vetting procedures. All in all, however, a cautious thumbs-up should be extended to Mr Gove's scheme, along with an exhortation to his department not to relax its scrutiny of new proposals – while making sure that those which are educationally sound are able to get off the drawing board.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Y5 Teacher

£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Long term position for a KS2...

Graduate BI Consultant (Business Intelligence) - London

£24000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Graduate BI Consultant (B...

Service Delivery Manager (Product Manager, Test and Deployment)

£40000 - £55000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Service Delivery Manager (Product Ma...

English Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: English Teachers with QTS nee...

Day In a Page

Read Next
An independent Scotland might find itself unable to guarantee the deposits of savers in the event of another financial crisis, the Treasury has warned  

Scottish referendum: this will give Scotland’s economy an immediate bounce

Hamish McRae
 

Scottish referendum results: A change is gonna come – it’s GOT to come

James Bloodworth
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week