Richard Wilson's blog

richardcameronwilson AT yahoo dot co dot UK

Melissa Benn on “Free Schools” [sic]

with 2 comments


The model goes something like this: a set of new schools, apparently dedicated to radically improved education of the poor, is set up in competition to existing public provision. Heavily backed by corporate or philanthropic interests, with some working on a “for profit” basis, they are reliant on high-stakes results, strict discipline, a punitive approach to teachers and unions, and tend to have more control over their admissions, higher rates of exclusion, and to take fewer students with special needs or those for whom English is not their first language.

Meanwhile, public (state) schools, many suffering toxic spending cuts, drowning in often unjustified public and political criticism, must continue to educate anyone who comes through their gates, making the alternative new model look shinier still. Yet many still provide an outstanding education, particularly in deprived areas. Sound familiar?


Written by Richard Wilson

November 29, 2011 at 10:23 am

Posted in Don't Get Fooled Again

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2 Responses

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  1. The last time private money was involved in educating the poor and it worked. It was their own money! Salt, Morris, anyone? It was so long ago that even Rik was not about then.


    November 29, 2011 at 2:16 pm

  2. The key phrase is “apparently dedicated”. The evidence so far is that those applying to set up an expensive “free” school are anything but intent on improving the education of the poor. The drop in the percentage of students on free school meals in academies and the low percentage of free school meals in areas where ‘free’ schools are being set up demonstrate that these projects have nothing to do with benefitting the poor but, on the contrary, are aimed at providing the benefits of private education funded by the state.


    December 1, 2011 at 9:46 am

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