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October 06, 2010

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If the scheme doesn't require extra schools to be built to work then I agree that it is worth a try.

As you say there will be quite a few instances where perfectly suitable empty school buildings could be put to use both now and as failing schools close in the future.

The aim of allowing schools more independence to adjust to their own requirements (within limits and oversight) in terms of curriculum, discipline and management is a good one.


Kay Tie

"It’s a leap into the unknown for one thing."

It's a leap out of the we-know-all-too-well, though.

"Michael Gove acknowledges that (who knows how many) could fail and be forced to close."

Well we must accept that schools will open, and schools will close. At present they close when bureaucrats decide they shall. And we don't have to look very hard to see that their decisions are not based on the educational opportunities for the children.

"Will the introduction of Free Schools not damage existing good schools in some cases?"

If a good school is losing to a Free School because of the flexibility of the Free School to run itself, while the good school struggles under the burden of the local authority, then there's a simple solution: the good school becomes a Free School.

"Free School pupils therefore could well lose out to an experiment driven by deluded parents who think they are capable of starting and running new schools."

It's not just parents, is it? It's teachers, ex-headmasters, and many others will plenty of experience. And let us just question the implicit assumption that current schools are run by people who aren't deluded: we don't have to listen to many of the debates at an NUT conference to see that there's no lack of delusion amongst the teaching professionals in our current schools.

"If there are shortages of teachers how will opening more schools help?"

I don't see how there is a problem here: the number of pupils to be taught is the same, the workload is the same, it is just shared out to different schools. For sure, in some cases it won't even out perfectly, but generally speaking the state pays for a number of teaching posts based on the number of pupils to be taught, and that's not going to change. So the Free Schools will provide job opportunities for teachers, and the existing poor schools will lose pupils - and some teachers can go with those lost pupils.

In reality, of course, Free Schools will end up hiring better teachers and this means that there will be a filtering process. After a while, the terrible schools can be closed and the bad teachers sacked. Which is what we all want, isn't it? Only this way, bad teachers are identified automatically by a bottom-up process rather than a blunt and brutal paperwork-driven top-down process.

"How will building and maintaining more schools instead of upgrading existing ones help?"

I am absolutely sure that the buildings of the bad schools that close can be re-used for new Free Schools. In any case, if you're getting worried about this level of detail I'd say that you were rather lost in the details. Professionals can sort out those details rather well, don't you think? After all, you don't stress about the details of a new shop opening when another one closes, do you? This kind of thing is managed automatically on a daily basis in every other area of the economy.

The benefits of Free Schools - the transformative effect of a decent education - far far outweigh the downsides of the status quo - ruined life chances - to such an extent that it is immoral not to try it.

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Well leaving aside the fact that Cameron misused what Balls actually said for his own ends.

'How do Free Schools lead to losers?'

It’s a leap into the unknown for one thing. Michael Gove acknowledges that (who knows how many) could fail and be forced to close. Free School pupils therefore could well lose out to an experiment driven by deluded parents who think they are capable of starting and running new schools. It’ll surely end in tears for some at least.

Will the introduction of Free Schools not damage existing good schools in some cases? If there are shortages of teachers how will opening more schools help? How will building and maintaining more schools instead of upgrading existing ones help?


Kay Tie

How do Free Schools lead to losers? If a bad school loses all its pupils to a good school, the children have won. Bad teachers lose, but I think we can all agree that bad teachers should lose.

How else do you think we can rid ourselves of bad teachers and bad schools? Is it possible to send inspectors into every school to root out the head teachers who try to stop kids learning by themselves? The inspectors themselves are infected with an anti-learning ideology.

"This insubstantial rubbish"

I gave you a very substantial concrete point. Do you agree that children should be stopped from learning in their spare time to prevent them getting ahead?

Rather than answer the point you merely assert it's insubstantial. Typical.

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'Well, since Balls is wrong - there will be more winners than losers - the summary is fair'

It plainly isn't a fair summary by Cameron.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/newsnight/michaelcrick/2010/10/was_cameron_playing_a_little_t.html

Balls said there would be winners AND losers. Its even there in your own words Kay Tie.

'exactly the kind of wicked behaviour that is the inevitable consequence of left-wing ideology ...'

This insubstantial rubbish is the consequence of your own polarised ideology. Consider mere reason and facts instead of useless diatribe.

Kay Tie

Well, since Balls is wrong - there will be more winners than losers - the summary is fair: anyone who thinks that those who could get ahead should be held back to make educational outcomes more equal is, quite frankly, wicked.

I have seen some awful things in my time, but the TV interview with a head teacher bemoaning middle class kids getting extra tuition and "getting ahead" was sickening. The very concept of a teaching professional shouting "Quick! Stop him! He's learning in his spare time!" is exactly the kind of wicked behaviour that is the inevitable consequence of left-wing ideology that so dominates state school teaching.

Paul Flynn

rwendland is correct. Ed Balls was asked if there would be winners from Tory school plans. He answered that there would be winners but many more losers.
Cameron twisted this to claim he objected to schools because they produced winners. This is a distortion of such a scale to merit the description as a 'lie'.

Kay Tie

"He is too tied up with being important and wealthy."

He's had a long time to get used to being wealthy. I don't think it ties him up at all. Which makes a refreshing change from the desperate drive of a certain ex-Prime Minister and his grasping wife.

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How can Cameron be expected to act any differently when those around him and those speaking against him are apt to draw such comments out? But it does not excuse these misleading statements.

The simplistic mentality says that because a person is on the ‘wrong’ side, one cannot learn from and make good use of criticisms. Whether that is faults that the leadership has or reproofs of their mistakes, it should be welcomed.

‘Though reproofs cut, it is in order to a cure, and therefore they are much more desirable than the kisses of an enemy ‘

Cameron doesn’t have a strong position as a coalition Prime Minister. And I don’t expect he can have a smooth ride with economic uncertainty and a national involvement in foreign wars. He is too tied up with being important and wealthy.

Kay Tie

It's always wise to look at the context in which words are spoken. Politicians are weeping crocodile tears over this topic since they have distorted the words of their opponents many times before,

DG

Then they pat each other on the back and tell each other what *clever* political animals they are - while remaining completely oblivious to the contempt that sort of behaviour provokes in the non-political classes. And if they were ever made aware of it, they'd be as bewildered as they were in the (still-not-forgotten) expenses scandal. They don't view it as wrong; it's just a game, part of what they do in the normal day-to-day.

DG

Then they pat each other on the back and tell each other what *clever* political animals they are - while remaining completely oblivious to the contempt that sort of behaviour provokes in the non-political classes. And if they were ever made aware of it, they'd be as bewildered as they were in the (still-not-forgotten) expenses scandal. They don't view it as wrong; it's just a game, part of what they do in the normal day-to-day.

DG

"Political knock-about as you would expect"

Absolutely. This is why people don't trust many politicians of any party. They know that anything they say about their opponents is likely to be exaggeration at best, outright deception at worst and wilfully missing the point of whatever the opponent was trying to say the rest of the time.

rwendland

Kay Tie, Ed Balls said something like Acadamies (or was it Free schools?) would create a more uneven state-funded school system, with more winners and losers. In Cameron's speech this was portrayed as Ed Balls objecting to more schools being winners.

Political knock-about as you would expect, but a bit on the pathetic side - it prompted Newsnight to replay what Ed Balls originally said in its context, where it came across as nothing very exceptional as a part of answering some detailed question.

Tony

Mind you he did at least have a vision of what he wants to do - but we're staring down a financial train wreck Partially because Labour ran a budget deficit averaging £37bn p.a in the years 2002 - 2007 - and still insist that it has nothing to do with the situation we have today. Cameron/Clegg are the only game in town, so buckle up - its going to be a tough ride..!

Kay Tie

What was his jibe at Ed Balls?

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