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Free schools

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Educational apartheid is Scotland’s greatest national disgrace

4 November 2014 16:11

A while back I was speaking at one of those How did it all go so wrong? post-referendum discussions and, as expected, the air was thick with recrimination. The good… Continue reading

191 Comments
Students at the London Academy of Excellence celebrate their A-level results.

What two years—and a free school—can do for exam results

15 August 2014 19:36

For the first time in 32 years, the overall pass rate for A-levels has dropped, and the percentage of those achieving an A* or A grade has also dipped slightly.… Continue reading

60 Comments
Prison training acadamy

Ex-Tory minister: free schools will let extremists in

14 June 2014 11:55

The row about extremism in schools has over the past week widened out to the role of faith in education in general. This morning I interviewed Crispin Blunt, a former… Continue reading

119 Comments
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The Trojan Horse affair illuminates a vital difference between the Tories and Labour.

10 June 2014 10:01

The reaction to the Trojan Horse scandal has, in my view, been as interesting – and telling – as anything in the scandal itself. It is not, of course, surprising… Continue reading

57 Comments
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Free schools are revolutionising state education

14 May 2014 11:00

The last few days have been immensely frustrating for students, teachers and parents involved with free schools, because, yet again, their schools have become a political football. Following the recent… Continue reading

55 Comments
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Gove uses urgent question on free schools to trumpet his achievements

12 May 2014 16:47

Even though the row over free schools has nothing to do with the Labour party, it took a reasonable bet that it would benefit from joining the fray by asking… Continue reading

8 Comments
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg And Business Secretary Vince Cable Visit Ricardo Engine Assembly Facility

The Lib Dems no longer support school choice

12 May 2014 8:19

Throughout this latest, blazing Coalition row over Michael Gove – which is spreading like fire over dry heath and has now ignited the normally harmonious Treasury – the Liberal Democrats… Continue reading

33 Comments
Tristram Hunt at the Spectator schools conference this morning.

Why Tristram Hunt is wrong about free schools

3 April 2014 10:09

‘I’ve come to exorcise you lot,’ said Tristram Hunt cheerfully, as he turned up to deliver the keynote speech in The Spectator’s schools conference today. He had come to explain… Continue reading

41 Comments
Tristram Hunt – enemy of choice. Image: Getty

Tristram Hunt should worry about failure in council schools, not free schools

13 March 2014 12:10

Tristram Hunt seems delighted today that Britain’s first profit-seeking school has been deemed ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted. The scores of council-run failing schools, several in his Stoke constituency, don’t seem to… Continue reading

38 Comments
First Aid Kit: IES free school alumni

How to repair a free school – the next stage of Michael Gove’s reforms

28 February 2014 15:36

Any government can set out on a journey of reform – the question is whether they can stay on course upon hitting turbulence. The coalition is entering this phase now.… Continue reading

28 Comments
Ignore this women. Image: Getty

Ignore Margaret Hodge and the BBC – free schools are working

11 December 2013 16:58

Today’s NAO report on free schools has recognised the ‘clear progress’ we have made opening 174 schools in three years with significantly lower costs than Labour’s school programmes. But, as Isabel… Continue reading

16 Comments
Boris Johnson Attends The Opening Of West London Free School

What the National Audit Office really said about free schools

11 December 2013 8:52

Is the free schools project unnecessary and costly? If you take your news from the BBC, then you might be forgiven for answering ‘yes’: the Beeb’s reporting on the National… Continue reading

38 Comments
Image: Getty

The psychosis of the PISA report and best practices

10 December 2013 15:44

The enemies of school reform have something of a champion in Finland’s Pasi Sahlberg. In a recent comment piece for the Guardian, he discusses his self-invented bogeyman, the ‘Global Education… Continue reading

17 Comments
Image: Getty

Failing free school to be shut

22 November 2013 11:56

The Department for Education is determined to show that it’ll deal quickly with any failing free school. This morning it has announced that the Al-Madinah free school in Derby will… Continue reading

12 Comments
Former Prime Minister John Major And Labour Party Leader Ed Miliband Give Evidence At The Leveson Inquiry

Sir John Major is right about education and privilege in modern Britain

12 November 2013 12:18

Sir John Major is, of course, correct. It is depressing, though perhaps not surprising, that the British upper-middle-classes – that is, those educated privately – still dominate what he termed… Continue reading

13 Comments
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Rebutting #govevreality — a video of untruths and lazy thinking

11 November 2013 14:39

The blob strikes again. A video called Gove vs Reality is doing the rounds, taking pot shots at Michael Gove’s education policies, or ‘challenging his assumptions and the evidence he… Continue reading

23 Comments
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg And Business Secretary Vince Cable Visit Ricardo Engine Assembly Facility

‘Now we’re relevant’: Lib Dems see free schools row as ‘win’

22 October 2013 13:25

The Lib Dems are coming in for a beating this morning from the Tories over Nick Clegg’s decision to go public with his thoughts on the flaws and limitations of… Continue reading

76 Comments
Nick Clegg wanted a sausage machine government, where parties are always clear on differences. Photo: Getty Images

Lib Dem free school confusion undermines Clegg’s ‘sausage machine’ model

21 October 2013 14:30

What does everyone think about free schools? That’s the question that is being asked of every Liberal Democrat who has the misfortune to pop up in broadcast interviews today, because… Continue reading

26 Comments
Andrew Adonis at Newcastle Central station. Photo: Sebastian Payne for The Spectator

Andrew Adonis interview: HS2, free schools and running for Mayor of London

21 October 2013 12:11

Newcastle upon Tyne Andrew Adonis is not your conventional ‘retired’ politician. The sprightly 50-year-old shadow infrastructure minister remains more influential than his current job title suggests. After running Tony Blair’s… Continue reading

13 Comments
David Laws and Michael Gove. Photo: Getty Images.

Gove and Laws slap down Nick Clegg over free schools

20 October 2013 13:15

The Department for Education has just released a statement about free schools, which can be translated as saying: Oi Clegg! Free schools: clue’s in the name. They don’t have to… Continue reading

143 Comments
Prime Minister David Cameron And Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg Pledge Upto £1200 A Year Government Support For Childcare

Nick Clegg isn’t the only senior Lib Dem who could damage free schools

20 October 2013 13:08

After Nick Clegg decided to have a grump about free schools in a paper whose own polling suggests they are popular with the public (more on this from Fraser), the… Continue reading

25 Comments
Gove's revolution has a new enemy.

Nick Clegg vs school freedom

19 October 2013 22:50

Nick Clegg’s aides have been briefing the Sunday newspapers saying (in effect) that he that he’s had enough of this school freedom malarkey. Certain head teachers are using their new… Continue reading

129 Comments
Shadow education secretary Stephen Twigg has told his left wing opponents to get their tanks off his lawn. (PAUL ELLIS/AFP/GettyImages)

Stephen Twigg snaps back

23 September 2013 16:14

Much of the talk down in Brighton is of the coming shadow Cabinet reshuffle. One person frequently tipped for the chop is Stephen Twigg, the shadow Education secretary. There’s much… Continue reading

13 Comments
David Cameron is delighted at the government's progress on schools. Photo: David Bebber/WPA Pool/Getty Images

How can Labour respond to the rapid rise and popularity of free schools?

3 September 2013 15:59

As the new school year begins, the Department for Education has announced 93 new free schools are opening — more than double opened last September — creating 46,000 new places.… Continue reading

28 Comments
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Free schools become deeper entrenched in the education system

1 August 2013 8:08

Michael Gove’s team is cock-a-hoop about the performance of free schools in the latest round of Oftsed reports. Of the 24 schools tested, 4 were judged outstanding, 14 were rated… Continue reading

24 Comments