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No Sacred Cows  
Toby Young
Tuesday 11th July 2017

The government should think again before scrapping its free schools policy

On the front page of today’s Times it says ministers are thinking of scrapping the free schools policy in order to give more money to schools. I hope it’s not true. Not only would it constitute a terrible loss of self-confidence on the Government’s part and confirm the narrative that the Conservatives are enacting Labour’s manifesto rather than their own. It would also be a betrayal of the thousands of people who’ve set up free schools and are in the process of setting them up. We have taken on the educational establishment and put our necks on the line at the behest of successive Conservative Education Secretaries. Are they really going to abandon us now?

It would be particularly insane to throw the policy out the window at this point as it is just beginning to bear fruit. Free schools are more likely to be rated Outstanding by Ofsted than council-run schools, more popular with parents and getting better results. To give just one example, the King’s College London Mathematics School, a free school in Kennington, topped a new league table published last week showing A level results in STEM subjects. (To read more, click here.)

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Re: The government should think again before scrapping its free schools policy
Posted by Simon Ray on 13-07-2017 20:02:

I think that abandoning extra funding for free schools would be a grand idea and hope the government follows through. In these days of austerity free schools have taken an unfair proportion of the shrinking education budget. Teachers' pay is reduced and parents are increasingly asked to pay for all sorts of things which people of our age took for granted when schoolkids. A pet project of Michael Gove's which should never have got off the ground. I suspect the long-term plan was to allow education to become another area where private companies could make profits subsidised by the taxpayers, but thankfully that now seems dead in the water.

Re: The government should think again before scrapping its free schools policy
Posted by William Hamilton on 14-07-2017 20:55:

Jeremy Heywood firmly in charge. Brexit is nothing compared to the retirement of our Glorious leader - Mr Heywood. Then we can get cracking: free schools, free hospitals...

Re: The government should think again before scrapping its free schools policy
Posted by Teacherbloke on 18-07-2017 00:25:

Toby, please go away........... a long way away, you are promoting an idea which is dead in the water, costs massive amounts per pupil, has seen many go to the wall as they are simply ways of diverting public money into private enterprise....... Bolton Wanderers free school, Spurs free school, Everton free school..... blimey, that list was longer than your list of 'free' schools that have gone from special measures to good on the FSN

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