Community schools don't exist!

Fiona Millar's picture
In spite of still being the largest single group of schools in England, it would appear that community schools, maintained by the local authority, have ceased to exist in the eyes of the government. According to this page on the DFE website, the only" types" of schools are academies, free, schools, trust schools and faith schools. I can't see any mention of voluntary aided or voluntary controlled schools either. Foundation schools are mentioned in passing.

This presents an exciting opportunity for all of us involved with community, voluntary aided or controlled schools. One day, possibly quite soon, we will be unique and special and quite distinct from the (soon to be) bog standard academy.
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Tracy Hannigan's picture
Mon, 30/05/2011 - 19:06

Hmm yes and then perhaps those special LA schools will need special exemptions and considerations from the SoS...yeah right (sorry, feeling cynical!)

Janet Downs's picture
Tue, 31/05/2011 - 07:26

As I've said before, the DfE website (funded by the taxpayer) is a glossy marketing exercise for free schools and academies. The Home page does not list community schools as an option, but the side bar provides links to free schools and academies. Even the Welcome statement which says the DfE is responsible for education contains a plug (with helpful link).

Clicking on the Schools link from the Home page doesn’t help. This leads to pages containing summaries of information supposedly included in each section (eg Governance) but no links. Eventually a Google search found the page to which Fiona referred (link broken above) but, as Fiona said, it didn’t mention community schools. But the side bar on the left mentioned the usual suspects (free schools and academies) plus Technical Academies and University Technical Colleges, Specialist Schools, British Schools Overseas and Independent Schools. But nothing about the schools which are attended by the majority of English school pupils (we tend to forget that Gove’s policies will not impact on schools outside England).

It’s as if the Government is airbrushing out the majority of English schools.

Anton Daley's picture
Tue, 31/05/2011 - 11:41

Cleary a sign of things to come. Looking back at Professor Ted Wragg's look at the 'Ideology behind the 1988 Education Act', how right he was when he suggested that the introduction of competition between local authority maintained schools and Government sponsored schools would be "akin to asking to athletes to compete in a race, one being given a fast sports car, the other having his legs tied together". Never has this been as true as it is now.

Janet Downs's picture
Tue, 31/05/2011 - 13:33

And this was Ted Wragg writing in 2001. He covers many of the hot threads on LSN:

On "privatisation" of education: "Some forms of privatisation drain the public purse rather than relieving it, especially when rates offered to private enterprises are way above what the public service costs. I am not convinced that handing schools over to private companies is anything other than wasteful in the long run."

On Infant class size (Mr Gove wants it to increase to more than 30 to accomodate twins and others): "Even if it is only for part of the day, infant schools should have classes of 15 and plenty of good classroom assistants. That is what sells private schools to parents, and such thin evidence as exists endorses their intuitive belief that small is best at this age."

On secondary education: "The second priority is better provision for secondary pupils aged 13 to 14. Many lose their way during this period, and the system seems unable to give them the help they need. At the very moment when adolescence seizes them, stretching their limbs to adult size, cooking their hormones to boiling point, they find themselves fighting through a packed curriculum, struggling with increasingly abstract concepts, as well as acne... It would be worth staffing schools properly to support work being done in smaller groups or individually... they are buried under a routine sameness."

On higher education: "It is a waste of breath even uttering my third priority, because the die seems to be irrevocably cast, but I would like to see free university education for all who need it and can benefit from it. There, I've said it. Yes, I know, the man's a dinosaur. Doesn't he realise that went out years ago, or what it would cost? I just worry when I see the huge debts that even abstemious students now accumulate, the hardships many endure, the uncertain future for the thousands who will not have lucrative jobs in the City or parents who pay off their debts. That cannot be right. Higher and lifelong education, like schooling, should be free, and on that I shall always remain unreconstructed."

Ted wrote those words ten years ago. If he were alive today he would be in despair.

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