Free schools


Immigration helps explain Sweden’s school trouble

10 August 2015 17:56

Sweden’s education performance has faltered in the past decades, with scores tumbling in the OECD’s international Pisa survey since the early 2000s. Both the Guardian and the BBC have recently looked into… Continue reading

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State schools, not private schools, are the real sponsor of inequality in Britain

28 June 2015 11:17

In today’s Observer, Will Hutton unwittingly highlights the poverty of the inequality debate in Britain. Gifted writers like him bang on about private schools the whole time rather than look… Continue reading

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Andy Burnham isn’t just the unions’ candidate, he’s the Tory candidate too

17 May 2015 11:07

“I’m the change candidate,” said Andy Burnham, settling down to the consolidation phase of his leadership bid. Chuka Umunna is out, so he is now the bookies’ favourite. He faces… Continue reading

(Photo: Stefan Rousseau/Getty)

Ed Miliband couldn’t care less about education reform

8 April 2015 18:17

The editor of The Spectator isn’t the only person thinking about the prospect of Ed Miliband becoming the next Prime Minister. Eighty educationalists have signed a letter in the Daily Mail… Continue reading


Podcast: The new political correctness and how Labour lost Scotland

5 February 2015 9:45

Is there something menacing about the march of the new political correctness? On the latest View from 22 podcast, Brendan O’Neill and Tim Squirrell debate this week’s cover feature on… Continue reading


Exclusive: Nicky Morgan to approve more than 50 new free schools

4 February 2015 14:12

Nicky Morgan will announce more than 50 new free schools by the end of this month, Coffee House has learned. I understand that a protracted battle has been taking place… Continue reading


Oftsed’s campaign against Christian schools: now Gove is gone, the Blob is back

25 January 2015 11:50

When Ofsted inspectors allegedy asked primary-age girls at Grindon Hall Christian School, Sunderland, whether they knew what lesbians did in bed, they (apparently) received insufficiently detailed answers. Also, pupils displayed… Continue reading


Archbishop John Sentamu is wrong about free schools on every count

19 January 2015 14:59

John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, has never been shy about courting publicity. He frequently churns out controversial opinion pieces for the red-tops and, just in case they don’t receive… Continue reading

Image: Getty

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

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

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


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

Image: Getty

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


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

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

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

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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

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