I see Richard Fuller has been promoting one of his pet subjects, so-called “Free Schools”. In the extract below Mr Fuller is speaking to his right hon Friend Nicky Morgan, Sec of State for Education. Oh the irony, for commending Nicky for ignoring “ideology”, given that the whole project is based on a warped ideological view of education. It’s interesting that neither of them quote substantiated statistics, other than Nicky Morgan’s claim that she has “made it clear that we now have 1 million more children in good or outstanding schools”.
I commend my right hon. Friend for ignoring ideology and making a straightforward judgment on how she can improve the number of good school places. Does she recognise, however, that the test for this Government will be whether we provide more good schools, and good school places, in areas that have had educational under achievement and economic deprivation for a long time? Does she also recognise that, in carrying out that task, her responsibility will be to be the champion and nurturer of people who want to set up free schools? Will she rise to that challenge as strongly in the next five years as we have done over the past five years?
Nicky Morgan replies:
I absolutely will be that champion. The latest application round for free schools has just closed, and the appetite to set up new ones remains undimmed. I have already made it clear that we now have 1 million more children in good or outstanding schools than in 2010. My task is to focus on the next million, and on those who follow them, to ensure that every child in the country has access to an excellent place. Free schools are very much a part of the answer.
Residents should be aware of Richard Fuller’s pet plan for schools in Bedford, particularly if money to fund his project is taken away from their local school and given to create a new Free School where it’s not needed. And let’s not forget Free Schools can, and do, fail.