Published:

Yesterday the BBC published an attack on free schools under the heading free schools "will not boost access to good schools."

The BBC suggests its scoop is most authoritative:

Published in Research in Public Policy and carried out by a team from Bristol's Centre for Market and Public Organisation, the research examines the likely impact of government reforms.

In fact, the research is based on a  comment piece on a blog by two academics in September, not a new research project providing original material.

Futhermore the two academics are not opposed to free schools. On the contrary they conclude they will be "very valuable indeed" by "acting as incubators for radical new teaching ideas." This is certainly an important point. 

Almost every day brings evidence of this. People starting free schools are planning to do things a bit differently one way or another. This week we read in The Guardian that Peter Hyman's free school in Newham will start the day with taekwondo and chess. Or east Londoners might prefer to send their sons to the Boys Free School for Dance. It quotes Sir Ken Robinson saying:

"There isn't an education system on the planet that teaches dance every day to children the way we teach them mathematics. Why? Why not? I think this is rather important. I think maths is very important but so is dance. Children dance all the time if they're allowed to, we all do. We all have bodies, don't we?"
Or east Londoners might find they couldn't get their children into either as they turn out to be oversubscribed.
The Bristol academics predict that the number of free schools won't be enough to force failing schools to close. Maybe they are right. Maybe there will only ever be a few hundred free schools. Maybe they are wrong and there will end up being thousands.
The dishonesty of the BBC is in presenting this caution as hostility.
In a tweet one of the authors, Dr Becky Allen says:
Pretty annoyed that bbc have taken a blog that was supportive of free schools and written a very negative article.

Comments are closed.