I would like someone to explain to me precisely how these free schools will work from a governance point of view and would particularly welcome Toby Young's comment on this given that the West London school is likely to be up and running fairly shortly. Most fledgling schools are being set up by temporary governors, along with private organisations such as existing private sector education providers. In local authoriy schools governors are made up of LEA governors, community governors, staff governors and parent governors. My questions are as follows;
1) How are they to be governed when fully set up and are these governors to be elected or nominated- if not what and how? How would delegated authority work. Unless I've missed something in the press I have to say I really do not know.
2) Where are the checks and balances for accountability and good practice within free schools. Head teachers are accountable to their governing bodies within state schools and in turn the governing bodies are accountable to Ofsed and also to parents. Heads also have the benefit of performance review from school improvement partners. There is a lot , in other words, to keep Heads on their toes and looking at continuous improvement models which in turn benefits the children. Until I became a governor almost two years ago, I really had no idea how schools were run or the constant challenges they face with all the internal and external assessment requirements. Now I have a child of school entry age and I feel very pleased that her state school is put through it and no one sits on their laurels, in spite of the mistaken impression given by Gove that the system is full of incompetent teachers who can never be sacked or who can never improve. It is simply very difficult to coast a long in todays environment.
So what is in store for these free schools and what can we expect? Who is to support and challenge them to produce the very best results for our children?