FREE Schools – another fiasco being played out by our Politicians!

A new Free Schoolfreeschooleton 1914 style>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Eton 1914 style
The idea of the so called Free Schools is that local groups of parents or other groups could set up a ‘private’ type school to improve the education of their children – an idea championed by Education Secretary Michael Grove. In the past three years the Tories through the 2010 Conservative LibDem Government have spent billions of pounds of our State Education budget money to push out this concept, set them up, and run them (some two hundred of them already and many more in the pipeline!) – Money which is NOT going into running our State schools! We don’t know exactly how much has gone or how much has been wasted – the government are trying their best to keep figures well hidden!

 The reason for this is that they ideologically believe in private schools – the powers that be in the Conservative Party are all a privately educated social elite and ex-Public School – over half of the first Cabinet – despite the name these are actually Private ‘Independent’ Schools!. So in the Cabinet we have Cameron (Eton & Oxford), Osborne (St Pauls & Oxford), May (part private & Oxford), Maude (Abingdon & Cambridge), Grove (Robert Gordon College & Oxford), Paterson (Radley & Cambridge), Lord Hill  (Highgate & Cambridge), Davey (Nottingham High & Oxford),  to name but some from that sector of education.

 What is the difference between Free Schools and Public Schools then?

 Well Public Schools are private schools, privately funded, but with charity status (so they don’t pay any taxes!) and pupils pay fees and normally board (meaning they live there!). They are completely a law unto themselves and there is no control over how they teach or anything else for that matter. Any person who has been at a Public School will tell you that it provides the highest level of education (because they have lots of money to attract the best teachers and provide the best facilities). They are populated by the children of the rich and who come out well educated and heading for Oxbridge – but often strangely developed psychologically because they haven’t had a normal family life!

 Free Schools whereas are pseudo private schools funded by the State i.e. YOU, are free to attend, but are outside local authority control, and unlike State schools are allowed to be ‘selective’ amongst other things. Because they have been set up by the public school lobby (trying to emulate their own education and introduce private education by the back door) they have been allowed to follow the same principles – totally no control over what they do or how. Yes, you have guessed it – some of them have abused that freedom. A number have failed to provide a decent level of education (and are what is called a ‘failed’ school), and some others have pursued a type of education of their children which doesn’t fit in with the British culture. The evidence from Sweden, one of the countries used as a model for our implementation, is that Free Schools have had no general benefit to improving education outcomes!

 The LibDems were in government and allowed the free schools scenario to develop and be put in place by the Tories (and of course the LibDem leader & Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is also from the public school mould! He is also Cambridge educated), but because of the adverse publicly they now want to distance themselves from the issue – so after three years they say these schools SHOULD actually employ ‘qualified teachers’ and follow the ‘national curriculum’).

 If a school is privately funded it can be allowed to do its own thing (provided children are not abused), but if we in the community are paying then they have to follow our proper standards surely? [There is nothing wrong however in using teachers with special skills who are not qualified, but the situation has always been that they need to obtain such registration while working ‘on the job’!.

 Labour on the other hand have ALWAYS criticised the way these Free Schools have been brought in by the current Government (though they are the Party that started the introduction of similar independent type schools in the form of Academies). Initially they said that they would get rid of Free Schools if they won the next General Election, but they have changed tack and now plan to “keep the good ones”! Their leader Ed Miliband – red Ed – though from a privileged background is NOT public school, but LondonComprehensiveSchool [now a PPI school] educated – though he IS an Oxford graduate!

 Is there a fundamental problem with free Schools? You bet there is! For a start they are allowed to be formed and start-up in areas where there is no proper justification – there are already sufficient schools there! This means that the existing schools are underused and under subscribed, so we the general public, at a time of severe austerity, are paying twice to provide school places for children in such areas. Some other places however are very short of school places and parents have to scurry round to get their kids in anywhere ,and aren’t able in reality to make any choice – that is where a Free School could be valuable.

 What else? Well, there is the question of what motive people have to want to open a Free School – and whether their interest will last (as there own children move on) or whether others will follow-on? We are likely to get a host of Faith Schools, which is the last thing we need – we already struggle with existing Church of England School and Catholic Schools, but have at least they have reached a stage where they are relatively integrated, but still a potential source of inconsistency. We are likely to see more religious schools e.g Islamic, and there is always the danger with such Faith Schools that they promulgate their religion unreasonably and end up brainwashing the children. It is essential the all schools in Britain uphold the same UK standards and values, irrespective of who is running them. UK Free Schools are likely to prove to be a privilege for the middle classes and will likely fuel social segregation.

 Some other countries also have similar types of school – called charter schools in the US. The other worrying thing is that in the Sweden where Free Schools emanated, most of them are NOT run by the communities that set them up anymore, but are now in commercial hands, being run as a private businesses – and that is what COULD happen in the UK and the vultures are already circling!

 So the Tories will have got away with it – a state funded extension of the private education sector BY THE BACK DOOR. And something more to privatise in the future – just wait and see!).

 

[By the way of contrast with the current Government’s make-up in the past most Prime Ministers since 1964 had a background of state education –  Ted Heath (Con), Harold Wilson (Lab), Jim Callaghan (Lab), Margaret Thatcher (Con), John Major (Con) and Gordon Brown Lab)].

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