Having just blogged about the proposed free primary school last week, I have now been made aware of plans to set up a free secondary school in the area as well. Having made the point in my last post that it was at secondary level that a new school was required, I am of course delighted about this development. Some months ago I contacted Nick Driver, the chairman of the Envisage local survey project to ask for his help in identifying individuals who might be interested in taking such a project on. It has taken some time, but those people have now stepped forward and I wish them all possible success in their endeavour.
Choice in education should not be the preserve of those who can afford to pay private school fees. For that reason I can’t agree with Andrew Tulloch, the present head of St Andrew’s Primary, who apparently told the Surrey Advertiser last week that “there is absolutely no need for a free primary school”. There is a legitimate question whether there is sufficient demand in the Cobham / Oxshott / Stoke d’Abernon area to fill another school; but that is not the right question to be asking. The right question is whether the addition of a new player into the local state education scene will improve standards across the board. I am sure that it will and I am sure that all local head teachers would agree with me that in education there is no room for complacency no matter how good the existing schools may be. Competition is good for everyone – for schools, for parents and most importantly for children, as each school strives to match and exceed the achievements of the others.