Free schools, according to Mr Cameron
, are “revolutionising education”. They are “the shock troops of innovation in our education system. They are going to smash through complacency.” The DfE
promotes academies as being the only schools that “work”. And in a recent speech
the Prime Minister said that an ideology had built up in English state education that “competitive sports are a bad thing.”
If I were the kind of person who believed Government spin I would have been surprised to read in a local paper
about recent successes in several state schools, most of which are not academies (yet) and none are free schools. So here is my tribute to the excellent work which is happening in state schools in a small corner of South Lincolnshire and Rutland.
English Martyrs Primary School, Oakham: three pupils won gold, silver and bronze medals in the final of the National Primary Mathematics Challenge.
Langtoft Primary School: set up a peer mediation scheme whereby Year 6 pupils help resolve minor issues that occur at breaktime.
Ketton Primary School: Year 1 pupils visited the William Cecil Hotel, Stamford, after they had spent a term building their own hotel in a classroom. The pupils met staff, designed a high tea menu, and visited Burghley Park through a “secret gate”.
Malcolm Sargent Primary School, Stamford: teacher Nina Spilsbury, science co-ordinator, has received a Primary Science Teaching Award. She was recognised for “injecting enthusiasm and fun into science lessons.”
Queen Eleanor School, Stamford: hosted a primary schools cross country event for 200 pupils from 13 primary schools. The school also organised a lacrosse and hockey competition for 60 pupils from 3 neighbouring primary schools.
Queen Eleanor School, Stamford: Year 7 pupils took part in a week of Fairtrade themed activities including investigating where chocolate originates.
Deeping Leisure Centre: Lincolnshire South East School Sports Partnership co-ordinator, Clare Ladley, organised an indoor athletics tournament for Year 3 and 4 primary school pupils. Ms Ladley had previously been involved in an initiative together with South Kesteven District Council and charity Inspire+ to train young ambassadors from local schools who had been chosen to spearhead their school’s Olympic celebrations
These activities featured in just one edition of the Stamford Mercury and three of them involved competitive sports. And the final of the country’s largest primary school cross-country league
takes place this Saturday, 24 March, at Rutland Water. If the PM thinks this event isn’t competitive then perhaps he should direct Rutland MP, Alan Duncan, to attend – he would find hundreds of primary school pupils from Leicestershire and Rutland who have spent the season training and competing to get to the final. Believe me, Mr Cameron, it’s competitive.
These activities aren’t confined to just one small corner of rural England. They are part of the day-to-day work of thousands of UK schools. So let’s hear more stories like these – celebrate the achievements of UK state schools on the Local Schools Network and show that excellence, vision, enthusiasm, innovation and, yes, competition, is not confined to Mr Cameron’s “shock troops” of free school pioneers.