MNHQ here: contribute to 'Schools that Work for Everyone' consultation

(67 Posts)
FinnMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 25-Nov-16 17:41:01

Hello,

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Education Governance and Leadership have been in touch with Mumsnet.

They'll shortly be meeting to debate the key ideas of 'Schools that Work for Everyone', a Department for Education consultation paper. (The DfE have responsibility for schools in England only.) The consultation is ongoing, so feel free to make your contribution via the online survey on this page.

The Department for Education say:

"We’re consulting on proposals to create more good school places. The proposals include:
· expecting independent schools to support existing or open new state schools, or offer funded places to children whose families can’t afford to pay fees;
· asking universities to commit to sponsoring or setting up new schools in exchange for the ability to charge higher fees;
· allowing selective schools to expand, or new ones to open, while making sure they support non-selective schools;
· allowing new faith free schools to select up to 100% of pupils based on their faith, and introducing new requirements to make sure that faith schools include pupils from different backgrounds."

The consultation window closes at 11.45pm on Monday 12 December.

Thanks,
MNHQ

EmpressoftheMundane Fri 25-Nov-16 20:30:48

Let's take them in turn:

· expecting independent schools to support existing or open new state schools, or offer funded places to children whose families can’t afford to pay fees
Not a good idea: private schools do not have expertise in the challenges that state schools face and will continue to face. It is condescending and wrong to assume that with their "help"/fairy dust, they can turn around state schools. Independent schools already provide bursaries.

· asking universities to commit to sponsoring or setting up new schools in exchange for the ability to charge higher fees
Not a good idea. Again, secondary education is not the expertise of universities; it's presumptuous to assume that it is.

· allowing selective schools to expand, or new ones to open, while making sure they support non-selective schools
Possibly, but I think this is politically unfeasible.

· allowing new faith free schools to select up to 100% of pupils based on their faith, and introducing new requirements to make sure that faith schools include pupils from different backgrounds
Surely this is a logical impossibility. If 100% of the students are of the same faith, it won't be particularly diverse. Certainly not in terms of faith, and you may find that it is not diverse in terms of race or class either given that some of these variable are correlated. Putting tax payer pounds into faith schools is a very bad idea in terms of social integrating.

There is no short cut for simply providing the needed funding.

lljkk Fri 25-Nov-16 20:57:20

Does govt want people to be more religious, is that why they are so keen on promoting religious schools? Else, WHY so many privileges granted to faith schools.

HPFA Fri 25-Nov-16 21:09:17

I think one thing we can say is that the relevant issues have been debated very thoroughly on Mumsnet!

Sirzy Fri 25-Nov-16 21:13:50

I think empress has summed it up pretty well.

On the whole it strikes of the government trying to get as many different agencies to fund education to save them having to provide adequate funding.

ElizaSchuyler Fri 25-Nov-16 21:17:48

Our local secondary school was ok, not brilliant but ok.

It then became a faith, university run academy & went onto fail several OFSTEDs, it's currently a Requires Improvement School.

Ds is at an independent school. There are lots of great things about the school & the teachers give individual attention but they are woefully inexperienced at dealing with any kind of SEN.

Our other local secondary school is also a faith school. It never used to be but it now boasts a reflection room with prayer things on the walls & all students meet daily with Jesus. My atheist asd son would be very unhappy there. We need less faith schools not more.

tribpot Fri 25-Nov-16 21:18:05

I'm assuming "faith free schools" aren't what I would hope, which is faith-free schools?

Why are the proposals so utterly at odds with the name of the initiative? "Schools that Work for Everyone" by definition can't be selective (the government understands that the purpose of selection is not to select everyone?)

Who are the unis to charge higher fees to, the children they have taught at secondary or the 'outsiders'? As a penalty charge for not having been to a 'uni-affiliated school', like anyone should be making a university decision at the age of 11.

How does the economic case for further meddling in our schools stack up? I see that many of these measures are about cost shifting - getting universities and private schools to pick up the tab for state education. As this is utterly ridiculous without significant incentives (i.e. further payments by the state), why not just invest the money directly in schools?

Suppermummy02 Fri 25-Nov-16 21:31:37

Of course Universities should be more involved with schools, its common sense.

Faith schools are silly, but if we have them then we should let those of that faith go to them. Seems silly to only allow half of the school to be of that faith.

And selection occurs already, why not allow less well off families access to the best schools. Its unfair to only let wealthy pupils into the good comprehensives. So academic selection should help make us more equal.

TheKingIsInTheAltogether Sat 26-Nov-16 07:48:08

Seems silly to only allow half of the school to be of that faith

That's not what the 50% rule means - you have misinterpreted it. It means the faith gets priority for the first 50%, and everyone is treated equally for the other 50%.

Often the second 50% of places are filled up by children "of the faith" too, if they're the only ones that want or need the places. But if there's demand from across the community then a wider range of families can benefit.

Plus, in admissions terms "of the faith" often means adhering to a strict set of rules about religious practice. The second 50% gives a chance to children who are "of the faith" but whose families don't follow those rules quite so well.

lljkk Sat 26-Nov-16 09:58:22

"Of course Universities should be more involved with schools, its common sense. "

why? What will they do that is an improvement. How well this help the 55% of kids who never apply to university? How well this make up for the social disadvantages that happen before a child even starts preschool?

lionheart Sat 26-Nov-16 10:02:40

What has already said. The consultation is probably a tick-box exercise and the govt. will do what it wants regardless of what the people who actually know about these things have to say.

Why on earth is it 'common sense' to try to forge that connection between universities and schools?

Windanddrizzle Sat 26-Nov-16 10:07:31

The wording on the consultation is incredibly biased

"How can we best support grammar schools to expand?"

lionheart Sat 26-Nov-16 10:57:07

How about this?

'The best of the independent schools all benefit from the state from the benefits offered by charitable status. We should expect these schools to assist the state-funded sector more directly, without necessarily spending more money, by building capacity in the sector through more good places and choice and control for parents.' confused

noblegiraffe Sat 26-Nov-16 12:00:43

By reaching out to parents are they hoping for some positive responses to this shambles of a proposal?

HPFA Sat 26-Nov-16 20:37:22

Its unfair to only let wealthy pupils into the good comprehensives.

Where do I start really? Perhaps point out one example -Thornden School in Hampshire is definitely a house price school. It has only 6% disadvantaged pupils - that is still double the grammar school average. Or perhaps the fact that in 2014 out of 276 FSM children who sat the 11+ in Bucks just 10 passed?

For a more thorough rebuttal there's this article icingonthecakeblog.weebly.com/blog/stop-repeating-nonsense-about-selection-by-wealth

PhilODox Sat 26-Nov-16 22:56:03

I do not understand how opening new faith schools promotes cohesion. Faith schools are divisive by nature.

I would like to see a proper, evidenced-based argument for why new faith schools could possibly be needed.

noblegiraffe Sat 26-Nov-16 23:00:07

New faith schools are needed because:
A) the Catholic Church (mainly, plus some other religious bodies) are willing to stump up some cash for them thus saving the DfE money
B) they tend to get good results by virtue of attracting the type of kids who get good results (parents interested enough in education to jump through hoops to get a particular school), thus they appear to be good schools compared to those who take any old local kid.

multivac Sat 26-Nov-16 23:00:40

This is the "consultation" survey that is entirely about how to implement the government's proposals, and not remotely about whether we think the government's proposals might actually be the right thing for our children in the first place, yes?

No, thanks.

TheKingIsInTheAltogether Sat 26-Nov-16 23:28:20

the Catholic Church (mainly, plus some other religious bodies) are willing to stump up some cash for them thus saving the DfE money

They're not expected to stump up any cash - new faith schools are being created as free schools, so are funded in the same way as any other new academy.

They do, however, need to be willing to put in the required time and effort, and that is the case with the Catholic Education Service because they are getting something out of it - namely the proliferation of the Catholic faith.

Running schools is a difficult business, not for the faint hearted. The Gvt apparently needs all the willing and able sponsors it can get, even if they have to reverse the 50:50 law to do that.

I do think it's interesting that they are also introducing a rule about prospective schools needing to demonstrate demand from across the community. For one thing that may prevent faith schools from minority faiths being set up. For another, it might just be a thorn in the Catholic Education Service's side - will non-Catholic members of a community support the establishment of a Catholic school without the reassurance of the 50:50 rule in place? It remains to be seen.

BackforGood Sat 26-Nov-16 23:37:09

Too tired now, but want to come back to this tomorrow, so posting so it's in my Threads I'm on.

noblegiraffe Sun 27-Nov-16 00:29:43

TheKing

I was under the impression that the Catholic Church did spend money on faith schools!
Catholiceducation.org.uk says
"Who funds Catholic schools?
The school buildings and land of Catholic schools are owned by the Catholic Church. The Church provides these premises, at no charge, to enable the state to fulfill its obligation to provide education for the population. The day to day running costs of Catholic schools are funded by the state in the same way that all schools are funded (either through local authority or DfE funding agreements). The Church covers 10% of the capital costs for the maintenance of the premises."

So will this not go for any free schools they set up? They'll get to evangelise and it will be completely paid for by the state?

PhilODox Sun 27-Nov-16 01:00:46

Indeed, noble, these schools will be solely funded by the state. I doubt they will be restricted to catholic schools only. Hindu, Muslim, and Jewish faiths are all likely to want a slice of the pie.

HPFA Sun 27-Nov-16 05:51:42

This is the "consultation" survey that is entirely about how to implement the government's proposals, and not remotely about whether we think the government's proposals might actually be the right thing for our children in the first place, yes?

Whilst your description is completely accurate I do worry that opponents of the proposals are falling into an obvious trap here. There are whole Twitter threads debating whether it is "worth" responding but of course if opponents don't then their voices will not be heard and the govt will claim a majority in favour. The questions are irritating but it is possible to answer them in a way that shows your disapproval - or you could always just submit an accompanying letter.

PonderingProsecco Sun 27-Nov-16 08:05:21

What an appalling consultation document.
No choice on the horrendous selection question.
Just a 'done deal'.
Crap.

TheKingIsInTheAltogether Sun 27-Nov-16 08:06:46

The school buildings and land of Catholic schools are owned by the Catholic Church. The Church provides these premises, at no charge, to enable the state to fulfill its obligation to provide education for the population. The day to day running costs of Catholic schools are funded by the state in the same way that all schools are funded (either through local authority or DfE funding agreements). The Church covers 10% of the capital costs for the maintenance of the premises."

Noblegiraffe all the above applies only to Voluntary Aided schools (and in any case the 10% of maintenance costs is a very small amount, covered by parental contributions). But many Catholic Voluntary Aided schools have already converted to Academy status so are now fully funded by the state. The church still owns most (but not all) of the land and buildings for those existing schools.

However, we are now talking about new schools being set up under the Free School programme. The CES has mentioned it would like to open many as soon as the 50:50 law is removed - several dozen for sure, I can't find the link at the moment. These new schools will be academies from the outset and so fully funded by the state. It's possible that the Catholic Church has some land and buildings up its sleeve that it will "donate" to the cause, but if not then their land and buildings will be purchased and fully funded by the Education Funding Agency, the same as for any other free school.

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