Sunday, May 16, 2010

Free Schools

Well it looks like the idea of 'Free Schools' (allowing groups of parents or companies to run local schools) will go ahead. The details are a bit sketchy at the moment, but more will be revealed in the June budget.

The teachers unions vehemently oppose the plan, so it can't be such a bad idea. I'm certainly not going to criticise groups of parents desperate for a decent school to send their kids to; who have enough about them to make a serious attempt to run their own, especially when Local Education Authorities and Headteachers have made such a complete mess of so many schools up and down the country.

Whilst there should be concerns about the motives of some groups and companies who want to get involved, you do have to ask; could they really be any worse than those currently in charge?


MarkUK said...

Not sure (as a layman) that I like the sound of Free Schools.

The schools may be free of LEA control but they won't be free of vested interests. These would be from a variety of sources (including, but not exclusively, the usual suspects)and would likely be poor for the kids' all-round education.

I feel that the State is the right body to run publicly funded schools. Rather than going off on a tangent, why not give school staff the powers they need?

We'd have to weed out those who are incapable of running a class, though!

Anonymous said...

I send my children to a "Free School."

It's as free from Government control as the law allows, but still run by people who know what they are talking about. And it does a fine job in bringing up well-rounded, well-educated and self-motivated young people.

Trouble is, it's a "Public School" and there are still some foaming-at-the-mouth extremists in this country who will happily ruin a young person's life just because they don't like the idea of parents buying a sensible education when the state provides a ridiculous one free of charge.


Dack said...

Yes some could, obviously.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 21:48,

Personnally I aplaude you and the idea of 'Free Schools.'

Our daughter to goes to a private / Indepdent school for which we haveto pay.

Why do we do this?

Well for starters the state system has abandoned all serious attempts at discipline, no doubt some schools still manage this, but it doesn't appear to be the norm.

Secondly we want our children to recieve an education, not an indoctrination i.e. we strangley are wedded to the idea that she learns to read and write, perform arithmetic, having some understanding of history, and science, and engage in competitive sports.

Our local schools have banded footballs, hula-hoops and skipping ropes. Sports days are not competitive!!

Also the state systems obsession with targets means they are only interested in teaching your child A B and C by the end of recepiton class.

The fact that your child may be capable of learning D, E. and F, and if (state teachers sit down, I won't be responsible for fainting fits!) 'stretched' (there I said it!) might even learn G and H, does not intrest them. Target hit = job secure + promotion prospects enhanced - end of!!!

Also the 'comprehensive' mentality even applies in Primary schools, which means there seems to be a ' a convoy traveles at the pace of the slowest ship' approach. Bright kids are not encouraged - they even seemed to discouraged defacto!

Finally we don't care to have our child indoctrinated by the state. Whatever opinions or views she holds must be here own. When she reaches her teens she may have very different views to my wife and myself. That's fine, provided she got their on her own, and was not told what to think by the state.

Most of our local schools are crap. Ofsted are equally suspicious, because their discriptiion of words like 'Good' and 'Satisfactory' would not marry up with the understanding most people have of these words, i.e for 'Satisfacotory' read 'Bad!'.

Before we sent our local girl to an independent school we had her name down for the local primary (Satisfacotry - according to ofsted). Her would -be teacher visited our home (protocol in our LEA) with another woman. The second lady was introduced as a TA (after three minutes of brain racking I realise this stood for Teaching Assistant). I was then 'talked at' not to, by a supposed teacher who came across like a box ticking bureaucrat, rather than a teacher.

Not only did she ignore and fob off any questions I had (like what reading scheme do you use) but she completely ignored our little girl, whom I had assumed she come to visit in the first instance.

When I rised the question of discipline, and got my daughter to recount what we had told her about school "The teachers are in charge, and I have to do what they say, and be nice to them." She seemed less than impressed, and merely told our daughter that they did such lovely things at school she would 'want' to behave!

Two days later my wife got a new job which resulted in a large salary increase. The next day we where visiting the local indepdent school. By contrast we were treated like adults. We held a long conversation with the head who patiently answered all our questions. Discipline was strict we were told, they had no qualms about expelling persistant trouble makers.

Nine months later it has proven to be the best decision we ever made.

Our child is happy and doing well academically. Her teacher stretches her and gets her to work things out for herself. Bad behaviour is not excused or lablled as 'Learning Difficulties'.

They also have an unabashed competitive sports day - with winners and lossers - just like in the real world!