Thursday, September 23, 2010

Free Schools - What is all the fuss?

The Huntingdonshire Liberal Democrats had a go at the Liberal Democrat leadership and the Coalition over the Free Schools and Academies policies by winning a motion at conference. Cllr Downes - Leader of the Liberal Democrats on HDC and a former Headmaster, lead this assault with:

"Just as the supermarket drives the corner shop out of business, so it will be with schools."

Supermarkets didn't drive the corner shop out of existence. Customer choice drove closed corner shops. Customers chose to shop at supermarkets because of the wider variety of food items that were fresher, higher quality and cheaper. Those shops able to adapt and change to their customers needs stayed open and thrived. What Academies and Free Schools will allow is for parents to choose their school.

"When Tesco provides some new products to lure people away from their competitors, the unsold items in the failing shops can be returned to the wholesaler or sold off in a sale. But not so in schools. Pupils are human beings, not tins of beans. A school that withers and dies does so over a few years, perhaps covering the entire career of a pupil in that school,...".

To me what Cllr Downes is saying is failing schools should be kept open so more pupils can fail rather than allowing parents to move their kids out of the school. I thought the Liberal Democrats were supposed to be radical. Yet when it comes to the vested interests of the teaching profession obviously Liberal goes out the window and small c conservatism comes to the surface. 

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