Much rejoicing in the ranks of education reformers today as just one sinner repents. Tristram Hunt has toldthe Mail On Sunday that Labour doesn’t think free schools are just for ‘yummy mummies’ and that now his party does support free schools, but under the ‘parent-led academies’ banner.
This is supposed to be a Damascene moment for Hunt, but really he’s just explaining with greater clarity the stance his predecessor Stephen Twigg took in June. Here is the key line from the MoS:
Will PLAs offer everything free schools have got? ‘Yes, but in an area of need, absolutely,’ Hunt enthuses. ‘The innovation, creativity, community engagement you see in the best free schools – great, let’s have more.’
So Labour only supports new free schools in areas with a shortage of school places. This means that Hunt has not had a conversion: the Labour Party still doesn’t believe in school choice. Under a Labour education secretary, parents would have to settle with what was on offer, regardless is the available school places were in poor schools. Fine if you’re a parent with the means to turn away from what’s on offer and take your child into the private sector, but for most families, this means that Labour would decide what was best for you, rather than you having a choice. Hunt doesn’t seem to have even embarked on the road to Damascus, let alone being converted on it.Tags: Education reform, Tristram Hunt, UK politics