More free schools

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.

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