Under radical new Tory plans, parents could be allowed to set up their own schools, report James Crabtree and Katharine Quarmby. David Cameron and shadow education secretary Michael Gove say that a “great education reform bill will be a very big part of the first months of a Conservative government.” But will their plans to borrow ideas from the Swedish model, and allow parents to create their own schools, work in Britain? Might they not rub up against other schemes to improve educational standards? Will many parents really have the drive to open new schools? And, even if they do, is there any evidence that it it wise to let them do so?
A new Prospect-Mori poll shows that while parents broadly support the Tory’s “Swedish”style plans, a majority are against private companies, charities or even parents running schools themselves.
British parents also think “Facebook schools” which mix basics like firm discipline and clean buildings with “soft” factors like lots of information through regular email updates, Facebook-style web portals, or the chance to call a teacher directly, are better than those which focus relentlessly on grades, or have top notch buildings and facilities.
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