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Last November the Shadow Education Secretary Andy Burnham he told The Guardian that if he came to power he said that "certainly" that "there would be no more free schools." So far as the free schools already up and running "you'd want to move that system back to a comprehensive system".

Explaining his opposition, he added:

"What I'd tell the Toby Youngs of this world is that your choice, well-intentioned as it might be … can undermine someone else's options and choice."

But what does he tell the Peter Hymans of this world? According to this tweet from Anthony Painter:

"@andyburnhammp supports Peter Hyman's free school as a Labour alternative to the Tory concept. But also says whole system matters #Fabians."

Labour councillor Jessica Asato was also at the Fabian conference and she tweets:

"Burnham suggests he is not against free schools such as the one Peter Hyman is setting up. Just a concern for the effect on the community."

Total Politics picked up on these tweets. I have now started following Anthony and Jessica on Twitter as they seem to be first with the news. If only tweets were not limited to 140 characters they might have offered more detail at just how legislation would be framed to allow Peter Hyman to start a school but not Toby Young – this now seems to be official Labour policy.

I predicted a Labour U-turn over free schools by the end of next year. It seems to be coming earlier.

By the way in another boost for free schools there is news of a celebrity endorsement.

Dame Helen Mirren said:

“I fully support the project to open a new secondary school for children in Wapping and Shadwell in Tower Hamlets. Shadwell has the highest level of child poverty in England. Plans for the new school, created by the local community will be inclusive and offer local children both an outstanding education and opportunities for life enhancing experiences. I would like to urge the government and business leaders to back this project and ensure real change for some of England’s most deprived children.”

Her backing is for the proposed Wapping High School – she is a local resident.

18 comments for: Opposition to free schools starts to crumble

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