I am a retired primary teacher - worked for 35 years in Wandsworth and for many of them with the great ILEA. Now living in East Sussex I have links with a number of schools but mainly my grandchildren’s' school at Netherfield.
My experience tells me that established local schools are part of the community. I taught in Swaffield School and a large proportion of children had a parent or parents I had taught and grandparents who had also been educated there before my time. This strong 'family' ethos permeated the school and came to the fore when we fought off the threat of amalgamation with another local school at the time of Thatcher's cuts and the destruction of ILEA.
I am incensed by this move to "free" schools. Free from what? Not dogma or selection that's for sure.