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Small Schools are Best.

03/05/2010

There is a lot of talk today about how the proposed conservative policy introducing free schools – started by parents dissatisfied with state provision – would not work in Britain.
As the former headteacher of a small free school, let me say: this is really not true. They can work very well. They do in some parts of the UK already and have done for decades in societies much like ours, including across the North Sea in Denmark.
Will they be cheaper than the current system?
No, because they are usually smaller than our state schools and they are have to start from scratch, so there is some duplication to begin with.
But, do they improve outcomes for kids and give parents and communities a sense of ownership and engagement with education? Yes, a thousand times Yes!
We already have schools that are free from state control in this country. They are called ‘independent’ or fee-paying schools and they are the province of the rich or those who care enough about their children’s education to go without for years so that they can pay the fees.
As a rule, these schools have the best pupil:teacher ratios in the UK and some of the best teachers and results.
Why shouldn’t ordinary folk have the chance of sending their kids to a school like that?
Not everyone will want to take up the option and not all will feel able to do the job, but these schools will still have to employ teachers and the market will operate to keep the better ones employed and well-paid.
I have run an alternative school and I have studied the free and alternative schools. They can and do work.
Children are usually better adjusted emotionally. They form better and more stable relationships and they perform better than expected in exams.
So, do not be scared! Sometimes, small really is best.

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From → Education, Research

One Comment
  1. If I could do it over again (and afford it), I would probably home school my children.

    Alexa Fleckenstein M.D., physician, author.

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