Free schools

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Screen Shot 2013-11-11 at 14.00.57

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Image: Getty

What Stephen Twigg doesn’t understand about Sweden’s for-profit schools

19 July 2013 13:04

As a Swede, I’m always intrigued to hear the British Labour Party say how Sweden’s free school system has been a disaster. Profit-making schools, says Stephen Twigg, are backfiring. But… Continue reading

Ruined Detroit, but even here there are tiny islands of hope. Picture: Getty

The greatest scandal in Britain is the failure to give poor children a proper education.

28 June 2013 17:29

Earlier this week, I was part of a panel on Newsnight Scotland discussing the latest – some would say, belated – efforts designed to improve Glasgow’s dismally underachieving state schools.… Continue reading

Comrade Gove is delivering what Attlee dangled. Image: Carla Millar.

Exclusive: Clement Attlee backs Michael Gove’s free schools

22 May 2013 16:49

Great news for all progressives: a private school has been effectively been nationalised. Queen Elizabeth Grammar in Blackburn, founded in 1509, is to enter the state sector as one of… Continue reading


Michael Gove: why I won’t allow profit-seeking schools (yet).

26 December 2012 9:09

Why aren’t there more free schools? Halfway through this coalition government and we have just 72; we’d need 400 opening a year simply to keep pace with population growth. When… Continue reading

Pupils at the West London Free School. Picture: Getty

Swedish study: free schools improve everyone’s results

9 November 2012 15:48

What will free schools mean for the quality of education — in the new schools, and in the old ones they compete with? In Sweden, they don’t have to guess.… Continue reading

Image: Getty

David Cameron is the leader battling inequality

12 October 2012 15:39

The great paradox of British politics is that the left moan about inequality, but it’s the right who will remedy it. Ed Miliband is proposing the restoration of the old… Continue reading

Party Faithful Attend The Annual Conservative Party Conference

Conservative conference: Michael Gove’s facts on the ground

9 October 2012 13:38

The speed with which Michael Gove is going about his education reforms means that he is creating facts on the grounds, facts which Labour will—I suspect—have to accept by the… Continue reading