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More problems for "free" schools

(14 Posts)
Mamie Fri 10-Jan-14 08:21:09

Thought I would start the education thread with this report in the Independent.
Worthy of a bit more coverage in the rest of the press, I would have thought.

JessM Fri 10-Jan-14 08:35:16

Oh that is great! Thank you GN - EDUCATION and FEMINISM on the topic list. What a lovely start to the day.
The problems with Free schools were predictable. Gove had a team that were charged with getting as many as possible set up in the minimum amount of time. All very well saying that they are being scrutinised etc but if you allow a bunch of cronies to set up a management team and governing body then the only scrutiny is going to be by OFSTED and The Department. LEA are completely out of the loop.
I was reading an interesting article about someone doing a higher degree on free schools - someone basically in favour of the idea. She is now engaged in a long running battle re her information request to have access to the information on applicants to set up free schools. The Department has its heels dug in so deep they are up to their knees. I will try to find a link later.

JessM Fri 10-Jan-14 08:39:34
Here it is. Interesting read.

Lilygran Fri 10-Jan-14 11:00:39

Thanks, GNHQ for the new topic headings and thanks, jess and Mamie for the links. No-one seems to realise how much control over education the minister now has. Free schools and academies are outside local authorities and that means the traditional links into local communities through elected councillors don't work. Funding of education at all levels now comes direct from central government. It isn't only the process for setting up these new schools that is rather murky!

Atqui Fri 10-Jan-14 11:10:44

I shall read the articles when not in a hurry, but could someone just quickly tell me....are free schools allowed to set their own curriculum?

Mamie Fri 10-Jan-14 11:14:39

Not according to the DfE website.

Do Free Schools have to follow the national curriculum?
One of the freedoms Academies and Free Schools enjoy is over what curriculum they deliver, providing it is a balanced and broadly based curriculum.
The new model funding agreement requires Academies and Free Schools to teach English, mathematics and science and to make provision for the teaching of religious education.

Mamie Fri 10-Jan-14 11:16:14

Sorry Atqui, answer to your actual question is yes they are, with stipulations above.

Atqui Fri 10-Jan-14 11:50:15

Thanks Mamie. Can't understand the inconsistency of allowing that while straightjacketing everyone else!!

Mamie Fri 10-Jan-14 11:57:14

I don't think Academies have to follow it either, though many do. I think the idea is that Free schools and Academies can be "trusted" to do the right thing. Have to say the evidence doesn't quite seem to support that idea. Maybe something to do with schools being set up in haste, with insufficient regulation and using unqualified teachers. hmm

Iam64 Fri 10-Jan-14 12:34:16

I wonder how much this ideologically, rather than evidence based rush towards fee schools will cost us to put right. How on earth can having unqualified teachers be better for children.

JessM Fri 10-Jan-14 13:14:58

Yes quite mamie - which would you trust. A school with a tried and tested management team, a sold board of governors and a track record of improving standards or an untried bunch of enthusiasts?
Yes indeed iam64 ideologically based - there are a few shining examples internationally of "charter schools" etc but what about the un-shining ones - the ones where foreign visitors don't get invited... Usually the shining ones are run on revolutionary lines that the Department and teaching unions would not countenance.

Joelsnan Fri 10-Jan-14 13:52:02

I have real concerns regarding these free schools in that general education can become secondary to ideology.
Where ideology or faith is enabled without proper restraints, this could lead to further sectarianism within our society and students having a polarised view of themselves and their peers.
Our children should receive a standard, fair and secular, inclusive education with learned knowledge that must be transferable should a child move schools.

Mishap Fri 10-Jan-14 14:31:54

The problem with free schools in rural areas is that they kill off local small rural primary schools by draining the children off to the point where the school is closed. Small rural primary schools are little gems that need nurturing, not sacrificing on the political altar.

redeagle777 Fri 21-Feb-14 14:25:47

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