Socialist Worker

Time to dump free schools

Issue No. 2402

Children were “taught nothing” at a free school in Sussex that was forced to close last month. 

That’s according to NAHT headteachers’ union leader Russell Hobby, who described how children at the school were a term behind when it closed.

The Department for Education (DfE) was forced to withdraw funding for the Discovery New School. Yet it handed out more than £3 million to set the school up.

The Tories claim free schools give children a better education. But scandal after scandal shows up their real agenda.

Free schools are state funded but privately run. They have priority for funds over other new schools, so transfer public wealth to the private sector.

Education secretary Michael Gove says privatising schools that schools inspectorate Ofsted deems to be failing will improve education.

Yet free schools are over three times more likely to fail inspections than state-run schools in general. Some 9.7 percent of free schools inspected have been rated “inadequate” compared to 

3 percent of all state-run schools.

The Tories are desperate to hide all of this. That’s why confidential DfE documents recommended “speedy intervention” for failing free schools to try and minimise the “very high” political fallout.

It’s also why they spend so much time demonising state-run schools—despite even official figures showing the vast majority are a success.

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What We Think
Tue 6 May 2014, 17:58 BST
Issue No. 2402
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