We are opposed to the proposed Free Schools in Lambeth

freeschools.sayingno.org

July 15th, 2011 at 6:48 am

Time for Michael Gove to come clean on-time-for-michael-gove-to-come-clean-on-cash-for-school-repairs-

in: Article

 

THE Government wants us to believe there is no money for repairing schools.

Schools minister Nick Gibb might as well have suggested that Liverpool schools will have to put a bucket under a leaking roof, because the country is skint.

However, become an Academy or a “free-school” and his boss, education secretary Michael Gove, will pluck some money off his magical money tree.

No wonder that schools are milking the academy cash cow – who can blame them?

And, as for free-schools, we know one school is getting £15m.

If the target of opening 100 free-schools is hit – including expanding the private Maharishi School, in Ormskirk, which teaches Beatles-style meditation – the bill could top £1bn.

What we are witnessing is a systematic and ideologically driven attempt to break local authority stranglehold on education

Read More http://bit.ly/n1TlXE

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July 12th, 2011 at 11:17 am

Archive of Debate on Free Schools on Women’s Hour

To listen to the debate bbc.in/r3bImA

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July 12th, 2011 at 11:12 am

Research on Free Schools Policy

in: Article

New research on Free Schools Policy by  Dr Higham, of the Institute of Education, University of London, presented at a conference on 8th July 2011.  Some of his findings include the following

 

“As well as the high level of interest from teachers who want to run their own schools, Dr Higham’s paper highlights some unexpected ways in which the free schools policy appears to be developing.

He notes that some 13 per cent of applications are from existing private schools, either to move their own institution into the state sector or to set up a satellite operation.

Faith organisations are responsible for just over 10 per cent of applications, mostly for primary schools. The largest numbers are from Christian organisations, followed by Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Sikh groups, all of whom say they are responding to a lack of capacity.

Educational management trusts and philanthropic organisations account for another 10 per cent of proposals, usually from existing chains such as ARK and E-Act. A further seven per cent are from existing state schools, often those already leading a chain or federation but also from those proposing to set up their first new partner school, sometimes as a feeder primary.
Charities and profit-making small and medium enterprises each account for about seven per cent of applications.

“There are some intriguing vested interests,” says Dr Higham. “Whether government will iron these out and set up a legal framework around schools to protect schools, the communities they serve and even proposers themselves from these vested interests is a concern.” read full article bit.ly/pJuauU

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July 12th, 2011 at 9:46 am

Fiona Millar – Looks at the improvement of Lilian Bayliss School and the Free School proposed on its doorstep

Fiona Millar writes a great piece in the education Guardian:

‘Some years ago, I was invited by Channel 4 to make a film about parent choice. Travelling around the country was an eye-opener. The public debate may have been about monolithic, bog-standard uniformity, but on the ground the diverse, hierarchical nature of English education was plain to see.

One day remains lodged in my mind. After a morning filming at the country’s top fee-paying school, Westminster, we moved barely a mile across the Thames to visit Lilian Baylis school. It had recently been subject to a very public naming and shaming after Oliver Letwin, then a prominent opposition spokesman, announced he would rather “beg” in the streets than send his children there.

The difference between the two schools was stark. In the first, the capital’s privileged youth were educated in exclusive splendour. At Lilian Baylis the bleak physical environment was as challenging as the intake. Over 70% of pupils were eligible for free school meals, the number of pupils from refugee families and on the child protection register were way above average and the GCSE results were way below. But inside the gloomy building, something exciting was happening. A feisty and inspiring young head was resolutely tackling the school’s problems to give his pupils a better chance.

Over the years, I have been back to Lilian Baylis several times. The school is now in a light, airy new building, courtesy of the Labour government’s now derided building programme. The intake remains similar, but its reputation has been re-built thanks to steadily improving results and a good Ofsted report, which judged the head’s, Gary Phillips, leadership as “exemplary”. The school is a touchstone for what has been achieved over the last 10 years.

But now a new “free” school is being proposed on Lilian Baylis’s doorstep. It has a slick website oozing all the usual buzzwords – tradition, character, high aspirations, excellent teaching.

There is no way of knowing whether these new schools will actually deliver on their grandiose claims since most haven’t appointed teachers, let alone admitted their first pupils. In countries where this experiment has been tried, there have been as many failures as successes.’

Click here for the full article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2011/jul/11/free-schools-parental-choice-chaos?commentpage=last#end-of-comments

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July 10th, 2011 at 9:51 pm

School puts free plans on hold

School puts free plans on hold

Published on Friday 8 July 2011 06:00

 

A NORTH Northumberland private school has put its plans to become the North East’s first Free School on hold.

 

In Feburary, the Gazette reported that Rock Hall School, near Alnwick, had submitted an initial proposal with the goal of becoming a Free School.

Free Schools, part of Michael Gove’s education policy, are all-ability, state-funded schools set up in response to parental demand.

They have control over their own budget and freedom to set pay and conditions for teachers and from the National Curriculum.

Now the school has decided they are not going to proceed with the plans at the moment read more  bit.ly/qZ19DB

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July 10th, 2011 at 9:48 pm

What Katherine Birbalsingh has in common with George Bush

What Katherine Birbalsingh has in common with George Bush

Katherine Birbalsingh has posted a bizarre Telegraph blog in response to Fiona Millar’s piece on Academy chains in Monday’s Guardian

Firstly, the comparison between a US President giving reasons to launch a war of terror and a journalist writing about the very real possibility of for-profit making companies running schools is so far-fetched and fabricated that it would be merely ridiculous if it were penned by someone who is not in the process of campaigning to set up a school. Unfortunately, this is a woman who has sharp elbowed her way into the forefront of the Free Schools debate and is promoting herself as the sort of headteacher you would willingly entrust with your child’s education   read more bit.ly/n1YZi8

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July 6th, 2011 at 4:41 pm

NAHT criticises suggestions that free schools can offer better services than their mainstream equivalents

The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) General Secretary Russell Hobby  notes that ”This ‘freedom’ for free schools and academies is another mirage that downplays and ignores the substantial innovations in the maintained sector. Not only do our state schools often open for extended hours, they have also experimented successfully with wrap around childcare, doctors’ surgeries, social care and many other services. Read more bit.ly/mCRaqb

 

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July 6th, 2011 at 4:35 pm

The Babeling of Miss_Snuffy- Article by Matt Pearson

”Katharine Birbalsingh was the teacher who exposed the failings of the comprehensive school system at the Conservative Party Conference last year” is the preface to her blog on the Daily Telegraph website.  She used to just be called Katharine Birbalsingh, but her exploits at the Tory conference have been appended to her given names so often that it appears impossible to mention her without this fact also being mentioned.  I imagine her passport has two extra pages to fit her full name on.

The way the media have portrayed Birbalsingh (the teacher who exposed the failings of the comprehensive school system at the Conservative Party last year) is as a solitary hero, a valiant whistleblower. She alone, it seems, had the tenacity to speak up and expose the failings in English schools, she alone was not afraid to speak her mind and bring the failings of the comprehensive system to a wider audience. This portrayal suits the Tories who gave her a standing ovation at their conference, and it suits the right wing press too who love to hear someone expounding right wing values in education and explaining why the current system is so so terrible. Read more bit.ly/r2ApDS

 

 

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July 6th, 2011 at 4:32 pm

Michael Gove has said free schools could stay open until 8pm

Gove this week announced that free schools will be able to lengthen not just term times, but the length of the school day, too.

 

Free schools will be free to open 51 weeks a year, until 7pm or even 8pm – six days a week. The hours are not dissimilar to those once worked by children in the Victorian mills. It is natural for proponents to believe this will give their offspring, and our future generation, the edge – it will turn them into academic powerhouses, reeling off ancient Greek and Latin in no time at all. It would be a great idea if it wasn’t such nonsense.

 

These hours are not for the children. They’re for the adults.. read more bit.ly/kQkk4h

 

 

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July 6th, 2011 at 4:29 pm

Contractors put off bidding for ‘risky’ free school jobs

Capital delivery body Partnerships for Schools offered eight free projects to contractors on the £4bn academies framework earlier this year. But firms, which had been starved of work for some time, are underwhelmed by the opportunities offered by the government’s flagship school scheme. read more bit.ly/oK94jh

 

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