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School Term At Free Schools Starts With Low Attendance

Hints and Tips / Opinion / August 29, 2011

The success of the new Free Schools to be run by parents and teachers is off to a wobbly start. These new educational establishments were set to change the face of the our teaching resources in the UK. Freed from the normal controls instilled in the state sector they were heralded by educational secretary Micheal Gove as the way of the future.  But there is a flaw. It required  local parents to take a gamble with these schools with no pedigree and enlist their children. But they are not.

The Free schools are to draw funds from the government based on a fee per student. It is essential these schools have a full compliment to make ends meet. The operating and payroll costs would have set in the budgets assuming a 80 per cent occupancy but some are falling desperately short of their targets. This poses an awful conundrum. No erstwhile teacher will want to work for a reduced salary or even nothing. The chances of the free school taking off during the first critical years will be severely impaired if the better teachers abandon ship and leave. Schools Freed From Educational Authority Could Flounder

The scheme has a further vulnerability. Set up by interested parents they will inevitably have a finite interest. A concern is the whether these parent’s will maintain the operational energy  after their children have moved away from the school, and the headteacher retires. Many a parents group or parent-teacher interface folds when the driving force moves away or their children leave the school. Although their are supposed  safeguards the fallibility of the free school structure is yet to be proven.

The schooling journey of a child is 15 years. This critical time is made perilous enough with government initiatives, many of which fail or are heavily criticised by the teachers who are required to operate them. As the clock moves on interruptions to this valuable learning time lost can never really be recovered. Let us hope that the Free School experiment does not implode and leave countless children stranded by parents who were led to believe it to be a good idea or a solution to the failing local state school.


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