The Observer article here
is self explanatory. Many of us on this site have been derided by the supporters of these schools as being scaremongering, leftist, indoctrinated, against “choice”, undemocratic. We have been warning for a very long time that the Coalition government’s education policy is divisive, a smokescreen for selection, unlikely to guarantee improving standards across the board where maintained schools have not, expensive, harmful to the most disadvantaged, prescriptive, results fixated, paving the way for free market influence. Just like Charter Schools in America. And just like those, we can add the threat of litigation as well.
Bullet points of the article:-
•A third of "free schools" will open in the most affluent areas.
•Less than a fifth of them are opening in the north of England, while half are set to open in the more affluent south and southeast.
•Most have been established by "sharp-elbowed, well-off parents" in affluent areas for middle-class children.
•Free schools in poorer areas will drain other schools of high-attaining children with the most advantaged backgrounds, creating two-tier education.
•Schools are considering legal action to block free schools opening in their area. Clare Bradford, headteacher of Henbury School in Bristol, has written to the DfE to warn that she would seek judicial review should Bristol Free School's funding agreement be approved by the secretary of state since it will attract middle-class parents away from her school, which will then struggle with numbers.
•Bristol Free Schools has not consulted with Henbury, and they have a legal obligation to do so
•David Wolfe, a barrister at Matrix chambers who specialises in education issues believes some free school projects were now being rushed through to circumvent battles in the courts: "It takes time to take legal action and some of these projects appear to have only been given the green light very late on, making it difficult for anyone to put together a legal case. The Bristol Free School received approval for its business case in May. There may be some cynical thinking going on."
•Where is the equality? Michael Foley, headteacher of Great Cornard upper school in Suffolk, says "No consultation, no consideration of what the impact is of the school opening in that area and, when every school is making cuts, to hear that the local free school is being given £4.5m for its buildings and has just 178 students but guaranteed funding for two years.”
•Admission open to all? “The minute you put Latin on the curriculum for the first few years or put pupils in stripey blazers, you will only recruit one kind of child, regardless of how many times you say your school is for everybody."
•Rachel Wolf, of New Schools Network (funded by the DfE) blames “hostile” council for the lack of buildings in deprived areas rather than the government’s lack of foresight in anticipating of schools setting up business with no shop