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Nape: Free school movement is an attack on local authorities

02/02/2011 Joanna
At the moment we are being confronted by a "lot of rhetoric" about the free school movement, but little evidence of how it will work.

This is the opinion of John Coe, general secretary of the National Association for Primary Education, who noted that what we are seeing at present is the "rhetoric of the first year of a newly elected government which is often modified by the experience they suffer and their advisers in the Department for Education".

"The free school movement is at the moment strongly a minority movement. The number of approvals is very small, and indeed over the next few years is likely to remain so," he commented.

"One must have some thoughts as to why they are pursuing it with such a lot of publicity and I think it is related to their stronger political objective of a policy of which we have more evidence and can comment on more decisively, that we are engaged in the government's attack on local authorities in education."

Mr Coe suggested that education should be a three-sided relationship between professionals, the government and local authorities.

The country's first ever free schools conference was staged over the weekend, with more than 400 teachers, parents and experts gathering in London.

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