A map of Suffolk schools, posted on James Hargrave’s blog but by someone else, reveals that there are over 1,600 surplus places in the county’s secondary schools.
That is before new Free Schools are opened. The idea that the Government should be behind a project which is clearly going mean more vacant places and cost taxpayers a lot of money without any proof of benefit, is shocking.
Figures like the one given above are only part of the picture, but they do show some over-capacity. There will always be some over-subscribed schools and some under-subscribed. Not only is there the relative popularity of schools but there are changes in population to be taken into account.
And in Suffolk the picture is further complicated by the policy of moving to a standard two-tier system, rather than the mixed two and three-tiers the county has had. And schools moving from local education authority control to become centrally funded academies makes the picture even more complicated.
In some places free schools are welcomed and in others fiercely opposed.
Personally, I find the idea of exporting any part of the ethos of a minor public school to other schools wrong-headed. But that is the what is planned with the Seckford Foundation, which runs Woodbridge School, behind plans for four free schools.
I went to a school like Woodbridge, although more than twice as old. The only happy year of my education was when I left it to enter the state system. I doubt the people running public schools have much worthwhile to bring to the state sector.
If you visit Hargrave’s blog take a look at the education section: he has a lot on free schools.
Feb 29. The figure in this post is for a single year only. The total vacant places is over 1,000. See comment below and following post.