Toby Young's Free School Documentary
Posted: 03 Oct, 2010
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I watched the above documentary last week. There seemed to be a huge discrepancy between what Toby and his friends were saying (we are inclusive, we want to encourage people from all backgrounds to send their children to our school) and what seemed likely to happen. The committee of people setting up the school were all middle class professionals; I'm not sure why there were no representatives of the disadvantaged people they say they want to include on the committee. The curriculum that they want to see (lots of 'classical education') including compulsory Latin for years 7 to 9 does not seem likely to appeal to working class children, or most other teenagers to be honest. How does this fit in with their lives, their experiences, their hopes and plans for the future? And so much for freedom from the shackles of the national curriculum. It is just being replaced by what seems a more narrow educational experience. The students Toby interviews said as much in the documentary. There were clips of Toby's fellow committee members canvassing parents in the deprived local estate which were 'evidence' of how they wanted these families to come to the new school. I do wonder how much other canvassing, involving, inviting went on off camera. The huge problem I have with Free Schools is that they have already taken money out of the education budget for other schools (harnessing technology grant) and will take more in future. We need local education authority services but they will lose money to Free and New Academy schools. This is not fair and does not promote equality.