You might be forgiven for thinking that a curious thing about the coalition’s education policy is how similar it seems to the policy of the previous government. All the big new ideas are the same big old ideas: academies, parent-run schools, specialist schools – they all took their first breath under Labour.
Yet while the coalition seems to be taking these ideas in a new direction, the other difference is that it will have a lot less money to play with. How will these new schools, built with so much promise, deliver the goods under the inevitable funding squeeze?
The new policy of a huge expansion of academies and introduction of “free schools” that operate outside of what is currently the mainstream public sector seems to bring us to a fork in the path. Schools are not required to consult their communities, so, if they go down the path that the education system has been on since the end of the Second World War, they may not be able to take advantage of the freedoms that opting out may bring. But if they take the path of opting out, what say do the rest of us have in the education of those citizens who will be our future?
19 July 2010