Monday, 3 September 2012 3:31 PM
Commenting on the opening of 55 new free schools this term, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
“Michael Gove’s vision for education is becoming increasingly unfair and chaotic. Dismantling our state education system and parcelling it off to unelected, unaccountable sponsors is a disgrace.
“To allow so-called ‘free schools’ to open, irrespective of local need and without proper regard to the appropriateness of premises, is not a sensible approach to education provision. To ensure that there are sufficient pupil places, there obviously needs to be properly coordinated planning and oversight which is best done by the local authority.
“The Education Secretary claims that allowing a few parents access to huge amounts of taxpayers’ money to set up schools of their choice affords them the same privileges as those parents who choose private education for their children. This simply mirrors the exclusive nature of fee paying schools. They won’t be available to all and they will take resources which should be directed into state education.
“Surveys have shown that free schools are neither wanted nor needed. Creating this patchwork provision will cause serious problems for providing a coherent and equal education system for all children. If Michael Gove is serious about competing with private education standards then he needs to reduce class sizes and increase funding and resources to state schools. This will create a level playing field, not free schools for the minority”.
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