Mr Gove is biasing the case again!

Alan Bowles's picture
The national press has reported there will be more money for schools in the Autumn statement. Not true! There will be more money for building Academies and free schools . One version of this data added and 'well run' schools . Which version is correct. Assuming the former, this is cooking the books against local authority maintained schools. Is this correct ?
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Janet Downs's picture
Sun, 09/12/2012 - 09:49

The £1billion isn't exactly new money, whatever the spin. It's the £1 billion overspent on the academies programme.

Any of this "extra" £1 billion which is spent on building new schools will be for academies or free schools. The Government has made it law that all new schools must be one or the other. This makes it impossible for local authorities to deal effectively with a shortfall of school places - they have to tout around for an academy chain or a free school group willing to propose a new school.

Extra places in existing schools will only be provided if the school is deemed "good". Whether this is "good" in the Ofsted sense is unclear. If so, then a large number of schools judged "satisfactory" at their last inspection would be denied access to the money even if extra places were needed.

Allowing "good" schools to expand may be necessary where there is a shortfall of spaces. But if a "good" school expands and takes pupils away from a neighbouring school this would impact negatively on the nearby school. It would be far better to spend money on improving the neighbouring school by collaboration and support if that is what is required.

In any case, any academy can refuse to expand even if extra places are needed. Such an academy might feel that their school is already at optimum size - other schools can soak up the extra demand (but if the other schools aren't "good" then they won't get any of this extra money - cue larger classes squashed into overcrowded classrooms).

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