The problem with granting independence to schools is that you never know what they’ll do with it. Quite a few of them want to use pre-existing freedoms to sell their school sports ground which happened all the time under Labour and was (like forest disposals) not much remarked upon.
But now, post-Olympics, the issue of school sports grounds has become hugely political and Michael Gove is being portrayed as the enemy of sports because he is not casting a ministerial veto. This is a small taste of what is to come for Gove: he has granted independence to hundreds of schools, who now have Academy status, and they may make all manner of other changes. They may decide to cut the costs of a science lab, and put the money towards better tuition. This is what the schools revolution is all about: letting a thousand flowers bloom. Including many species that ministers won’t like.
As Matt d’Ancona says today in the Sunday Telegraph, school reform is the most radical part of the government’s agenda and it is bound to be a bumpy ride. Gove is a fan of traditional curriculum, for example, yet his reforms will grant schools greater freedom to have more ‘progressive’ learning techniques and a more relaxed approach to discipline, if that is what parents want. We will likely see a new breed of smaller schools with no sports facilities at all.
From now on, schools are likely to do a lot of things that will upset either Labour, the Tories or both. The trick for ministers will be learning to shrug, and reply that this — for all its frustrations — is what school freedom looks like.Tags: michael, Schools revolution, Sports