The Local Schools Network is now officially up and running – so please would you all click onto the site to indicate your support for your local school, if you wish to, and add a comment/story/view or two.
A group of us set up this website/campaign after the government decided to fund the New Schools Network to the tune of half a million pounds. While there is obviously a case to be made for new schools in some areas, and we would support these, the New Schools Agenda is frequently an attack on existing local state schools. Setting up Free Schools, particularly in already socially polarised inner city areas, will only further demoralise many community comprehensives, drawing away the better off and more motivated parents – those, that is, not already signed up to private education or grammars or those faith schools which can, through archaic admissions policies, shape their own school population in a way that many community/comprehensives simply can’t and wouldn’t want to.
The more I have worked on the Local Schools Network, while at the same time researching the history of our state system and visiting schools (for my forthcoming Verso book) the more I believe we are in the middle of a frequently covert but extraordinarily important battle over the future of state education, with many forces ranged against it.
That is why it is vital that we all defend – and fight to extend and improve – non selective state education against those, in the Coalition and certainly in the Tory party, who want to run it down at every turn and replace it with quasi independent schools or a return to grammars or a mish mash of both.
Our state education system has made extraordinary strides over the past few decades; but there is so much more to do. The Local Schools Network is just one contribution to defending this vital element of our society and working to improve it for all, not just a select few.
Please support us.