Private schools in crisis: pupils are deserting and they're desperate to become free schools...

Francis Gilbert's picture
Increasing numbers of students are deserting private schools in favour of comprehensives when opting for Sixth Form courses, the Guardian reports this morning. Meanwhile, quite a few private schools are looking to be bailed out by the taxpayer and get funding as "free schools". At the moment, six private schools are seeking state funding, but clearly a great many more are watching: if these six get state funding, an avalanche is sure to follow. This will be very unfair because it will definitely increase social segregation:  no doubt siblings will get preferential status in these schools' admissions criteria, thus meaning that these private schools, in their incarnation as "free schools", will continue to admit wealthy students.


Isn't it time that the government started supporting local schools that have proven they can educate ALL students to a high level, and not just a pampered elite?
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Janet Downs's picture
Tue, 12/04/2011 - 09:53

It's worth reminding Mr Gove of what the OECD recently said about the academy/free schools programme. Although supportive of the proposals on the ground that it should increase parental choice, the OECD warns that these schools could increase the already wide gap between advantaged pupils and disadvantaged ones. The report says "UK students from better socio-economic backgrounds tend to be taught in smaller classes and have access to better quality teaching resources" (Page 102). If selective private schools are allowed to become free schools, then this discrepancy in resourcing will not be reduced. It will also be maintained at the taxpayers' expense.

A secondary teacher writing in the Times Educational Supplement about the free schools programme and its effect on schools, particularly those in the north, “Let's hope we can avoid the sort of "Convergence of the Twain" that Hardy describes in his lines on the loss of the Titanic. "And as the smart ship grew/In stature, grace, and hue/In shadowy silent distance grew the Iceberg too." Because remember Mr Gove, it's not just grim up north, it's also very cold.”

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