Uncomfortable news for the Govistas this morning: of the first nine ‘free schools’ to be inspected, three were judged “requires improvement”, as reported in the Independent on Sunday (follow link). So, just like any other schools, they can be good, bad or indifferent. The DfE tried to put a brave face on it, trotting out the usual excuses including ‘they’ve only been open a year’.
Of course, in the case of Batley Grammar School, that’s just not true. In a little-known scam, when ‘free schools’ first came on the agenda several fee-paying independent schools converted, enabling them to take money out of the public purse where before they had been supported by fees. Batley Grammar was one such. Its recent OFSTED judgement gives an indication, perhaps, of how good it was before. Interestingly, one of the criticisms inspectors made was of the lack of data available to governors. Again, is this an indicator of how good independent schools — Gove’s ‘model’ for our state schools — really are?