Free Schools

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  • Free Schools
  • Free schools are an utter waste of money.

    pmc00per
    Member

    I had some involvement on a free school project which was refused planning permission in a labout council area. The school was going to offer 450 places. Last year this particular city had 4 spare primary school spaces. Our project would have opened a school in less than 12m at half the cost of a new build. How is that a waste of money.

    Work in construction, so have no real axe to grind with the politics.

    tinribz
    Member

    To save face they will starve schools that don’t sign up for this nonsense.

    Pob’s incompetence is ruining a generation’s education.

    . Our project would have opened a school in less than 12m at half the cost of a new build. How is that a waste of money.

    Who decides who goes?
    Who decides what they teach?
    How much would it cost to increase capacity at the other schools?
    How much funding would be lost to the other schools?

    Premier Icon Clink
    Subscriber

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-23105698

    And meanwhile I know lots of state schools where there have been redundancies and are short of funding. 😕

    Another marvellous government education policy which they will use their normal emotional blackmail defence for – “if we don’t do this children’s education will suffer”.

    I’m not against free school being set up, but not at the expense of existing schools.

    pmc00per
    Member

    As I said, I work in construction, so I cannot answer all of your questions. That said, over the last 20 years I have worked on 15-20 schemes ranging from £30m labour fflagship academies to the new conservative free schools. So that is me. You can draw your own conclusions if you think my opinion are valid.

    is apparent that there is a huge lack of primary school spaces (in particular). We need to open schools by September this year to meet demand. Extending existing sites can create some capacity in some instances but not all and certainly not in the numbers required. If you ignore the free part, converting existing buildings will provide capacity quickly. They also have to meet new build standards.

    Will answer your questions as best as I can

    1) parents chose which school there child goes to

    2) I’m not really qualified to answer this but all of teachers I have met are normal teachers not some two headed monsters

    3) the funding model for new build elements are about 40% higher than refurb. So trying to increase capacity in existing schools would be that type of magnitude more expensive
    4) pass-thats one for the government

    aa
    Member

    pm c00per, parents dont choose, the state preferences..
    From a pupil planning perspective (thats a lot of p’s), there will undoubtedly be times when, due to a lack of places in an area, a free school will provide the answer. However, i feel that free schools are providing places for ‘niche’ groups and not the general student population. There are ways of increasing schools’ capacities without throwing money at free schools.
    As mentioned above, i feel it’s wrong to publically fund private enterprise at the expense of schools in the state system.
    We will, eventually, look back and wonder why we allowed the deconstruction of our school system to happen.

    tonyd
    Member

    I haven’t read the article yet but friends of ours have just been heavily involved in setting up a free school. They’ve had to do it because there just aren’t enough school spaces in their local area. It’s all approved now but won’t be ready to open until Sept 2014, unfortunately that means that their eldest will have to start school about 4 miles from home. Once the free school opens he’ll move there.

    There are a lot of parents in their local area who are frustrated beyond belief, and understandably so, at the lack of school spaces. There was a baby boom and the authorities failed to prepare, it’s as simple as that as far as I can see. We have other friends in the same town whose eldest is in one school as they are (were) just in catchment, two years later their youngest has been allocated a school 3 miles in the opposite direction.

    I don’t really care about the politics of free schools, all I see is an opportunity for parents to try to improve things for their children. I don’t think they should have to do it but the fact they’re able is good in my book. Hats off to everyone that has put in the effort to set one of these up as it’s not easy.

    Oh, and we’re not talking about posh alternative types, these are just normal everyday people.

    Premier Icon ampthill
    Subscriber

    The trouble with free schools is not re using buildings. Although I do question schools with no play grounds etc.

    The problem with free schools is them adding places with no reference to what places are needed.

    So there examples of school driven to near bankruptcy buy a free school opening when they are stuck with a PFI building

    Markets are not ideal in education. If your local school goes under while your kids in it its bound to be painful. Its also bad if the school just squeezed financially.

    ninfan
    Member

    Commenting on the announcement of 102 new free school applications approved for 2014 onwards by the Department for Education, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

    “It is extraordinary that at a time when the shortage of primary school places amounts to nothing short of a national crisis that the Government is persisting with the folly of its free school policy. Less than a third of the approved free schools are primary schools; and the overwhelming majority – 45 per cent of the new schools – will be located in London, which by common agreement already boasts the best schools in the country.

    http://teachers.org.uk/node/18383

    Premier Icon Garry_Lager
    Subscriber

    tonyd – Member

    I haven’t read the article yet but friends of ours have just been heavily involved in setting up a free school. They’ve had to do it because there just aren’t enough school spaces in their local area. It’s all approved now but won’t be ready to open until Sept 2014, unfortunately that means that their eldest will have to start school about 4 miles from home. Once the free school opens he’ll move there.

    There are a lot of parents in their local area who are frustrated beyond belief, and understandably so, at the lack of school spaces. There was a baby boom and the authorities failed to prepare, it’s as simple as that as far as I can see. We have other friends in the same town whose eldest is in one school as they are (were) just in catchment, two years later their youngest has been allocated a school 3 miles in the opposite direction.

    I don’t really care about the politics of free schools, all I see is an opportunity for parents to try to improve things for their children. I don’t think they should have to do it but the fact they’re able is good in my book. Hats off to everyone that has put in the effort to set one of these up as it’s not easy.

    Oh, and we’re not talking about posh alternative types, these are just normal everyday people. You’re throwing around some big numbers there Tony – schools 3 and 4 miles away? That’s almost 15 minutes on a bike – you can see why people want to set up a free school having to deal with this appalling hardship. Makes perfect sense.

    tonyd
    Member

    4 miles away when there are 5 or 6 schools closer but they’re all full to bursting, are you saying that isn’t a problem? And the 3 miles away one, that’s 3 miles in the opposite direction from home to the school where the sibling goes, which is also about 3 miles away. How exactly do you propose their mum manages to get them both to school on time when their schools are 6 miles apart through heavy rush hour/school run traffic? This is infant schools, so it’s not like they can cycle to school on their own.

    If you understood how hard it is to set one of these up you might understand that people aren’t doing it just to save themselves a bit of a walk. There is a real crisis in some areas.

    Doesn’t seem like you’ve anything particularly constructive to say, or even much of an opinion on the subject, so why not save your sarcasm?

    aa
    Member

    garry,
    realistically,
    it’s a handfulofminutes in a range rover.

    pmc00per
    Member

    The city in which the free school I was working was located only had four spare primary school spaces last year. The discussion isnt just about localility but overall capacity. The school will be there for years. So over time it will all balance out.

    Also need to invest in secondary school places now, so that we do not have a capcity crises in four years time. Builidng projects take years from inception to handover.

    tonyd
    Member

    Oh of course, anyone that send their children to a free school drives a Range Rover? I expect they’re all died in the wool, baby eating tory voters too.

    Not much on the telly tonight is there?

    Premier Icon Garry_Lager
    Subscriber

    4 miles away when there are 5 or 6 schools closer but they’re all full to bursting, are you saying that isn’t a problem? And the 3 miles away one, that’s 3 miles in the opposite direction from home to the school where the sibling goes, which is also about 3 miles away. How exactly do you propose their mum manages to get them both to school on time when their schools are 6 miles apart through heavy rush hour/school run traffic? This is infant schools, so it’s not like they can cycle to school on their own.

    I would say that is a problem, relatively speaking. Just not one that demands the imbecilic solution of setting up a free school to address.
    Unfortunately, we can’t rely on credulous imbecility as the only motive for setting up free schools – we’d be doing alright if that were the case.

    Education is out of control and Gove needs to step down.

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