‘Please sir, can we have some more schools’
Can independently run schools transform education?
Before she founded the New Schools Network, Rachel was an education adviser to the Conservative Party. She has also worked for Boris Johnson and the Institute of Education. She studied Natural Sciences at Cambridge and Economics at Birkbeck.
New Education Secretary Michael Gove is about to unleash a wave of new Academies and ‘free schools’ on the nation and claims to be seeking innovation based on ‘new providers’ – but if the state can’t manage our schools why would we expect private companies and parents (and some say churches and hedge funds) to do a better job? Does Gove’s vision offer a better educational chance to today’s children than the state has done so far? Or is Gove just running up the white flag on the state’s duty to educate the people?
On the other hand the state’s involvement in education over the last 13 years has emptied education of much of its traditional content. Examinations are no longer widely trusted and many parents feel pressured to get involved in schooling to guarantee progress for their child. Yet the previous government said that results were getting better and dismissed criticism as downplaying children’s achievements – and ex-Children’s Secretary Ed Balls claims the Tory Academies will miss the point. But what is the educational point today? Do schools even know what they should be doing anymore? Should we be asking for our old schools back? Or was the old gruel too cruel?
The Education Forum discussion format is specifically designed to explore what it is you might have been thinking but were previously unsure about asking, so please join us at this interesting debate!
Introduced by Rachel Woolf, Director of the New Schools Network.