Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Free schools – numbers, expectations and reality

Today there is bad news for the free schools movement and its highest profile exponent, Michael Gove.

The Financial Times warns that the first wave of free schools might consist of only eight schools or fewer. An assessment by Department for Education officials says that the “majority” of the 16 proposals for free schools that have been approved to open in September 2011 are “likely” to miss five of the 14 deadlines that officials believe must be met.

There appear to be issues with the appointment of Principals by the December deadline and having in place fit-for-purpose buildings in time. There are also uncertainties over transport-related planning requirements.

This revolution – like so many in history – may have raised expectations that it will struggle to deliver.


SayNoToBKFS said...

Thinking that Free School campaigners could organise themselves in time to open a school within 12 months of the Stage 2 approvals was always ridiculous. Is it any wonder this is the thinking of a man (Gove) who has never worked in a commercial organisation. In the places where I have worked, the Free Schools idea (for good or bad) would have been postponed / cancelled on the basis of lack of planning alone...Free School = apotheosis of 'I'm Alright Jack' Free Market madness

Bob Deed said...

I am maybe more charitable. I think Michael Gove was dazzled by some of the Charter School successes in the US e.g. the KIPP program. The practicalities got overlooked.

Are free schools really the apotheosis of "free market madness"? Labour created a framework for parent sponsored academies. Independent state-funded schools operate in countries with a social-democratic political culture.