Is it fair that a selective private school should become a state-funded free school?

Francis Gilbert's picture
The news that the Wisdom Primary school in Tottenham has applied to become a free school should be worrying for anyone who is concerned about the state sponsoring more academically selective schools. Yet this is the news that is reported in the press today. Overwhelmingly, one gathers the sense that Haringey will become even more polarised socially, religiously and ethnically if this proposal and other free school bids go through: the bid by Haringey Jewish Primary school has already been accepted. There is another bid being put forward for a new secondary school.

The Wisdom Primary School currently selects children in Years 1-6. Its current admissions' code states:

"Infant and junior pupils are assessed informally, usually when they visit for a day or two. This normally involves sitting a standardised test in English, mathematics and reasoning as well as assessments being made by the class teacher over the visit. The observations of teachers are very important in establishing a more general profile of each prospective pupil."

Because free schools are not required to divulge their proposals, it's not very clear how this one will work at all: will the currently academically selected children stay in the school, funded by the taxpayer? Will their siblings have automatic rights to be admitted? I can't find anything about this at the moment...Comments welcome.

Let's hope the government doesn't accept their bid because if they do they will effectively be supporting academically selective school which is full of pupils from wealthy backgrounds. There are many primary schools in Haringey serving the poorest communities in the country. If this bid is accepted, it will be a classic case of robbing the poor to give to the rich. How unfair!
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