Free schools not to blame for educational problems

editorial image

To witness the wringing of hands by various political and religious bodies that the threat a free school has brought is truly astounding.

I’m no educationist, far from it, but I do remember reading the warnings of several critics of the plans to rebuild our once excellent schools by the means of PFI and how the high repayments would affect any change or flexibility that might be needed in the future.

These warning were ignored and to now hear detractors of a free school complaining about the cost of it is, to say the least, a bit rich. After all, what’s a few more million for our children to pay back?

I’ve no idea if a free school is a good or bad thing but the people who wish to open it have a genuine want to educate their children as they see fit and it appears to be only fair they be treated in the same way their critics were accommodated when our £250m. “Schools For The Future” were built.

To now blame free school wannabes for our existing schools being under-subscribed is plain silly. Surely, if the schools were good enough, the problem of pupil numbers, or lack of them, would not exist. Are parents voting with their feet?

Reading between the lines, the foray on this school is as much about the policies of the Conservative Government than the school itself. I’m not a Tory but if the opponents of the free school are the same crew who presided over the PFI debacle, I know whose side I’m on.

It’s not the free schools to blame for our educational problems but New Labour’s irresponsible use of PFI. Our schools are now owned and run by big businesses and are wrapped in a financial straight jacket for the next 30 years.

The supporters of this policy helped to privatise our schools (something the Tory party had always hoped to do themselves) and are now, rather than facing up to their own naivety, looking for something or someone to blame.

Unfortunately, it looks like the more prudent parent has been chosen to carry the can and will now be, as in the past, vilified and accused of wrecking our community.

That’s our schools; just wait for the effects of PFI on our hospitals to kick in. Who wants to be the whipping boy for that one?

S. Grace