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Free schools - just a daydream?

(18 Posts)
sieglinde Sun 07-Nov-10 15:33:21

Just wondered if any other home ed families were thinking very vaguely or maybe even more concretely about the government's free school offer, and wondering about whether it could work for them? I've only got as far as daydreams and looking at the guvverment website. One of my reasons for HE is disliking the way most schools have the National Curriculum...

SDeuchars Sun 07-Nov-10 17:33:21

IMO, the problem with free schools is that they still have to be Ofstedded, need governors, etc. If I could get the school money and continue doing what I've been doing ... I still wouldn't take it because it would have strings.

mumof4darlings Sun 07-Nov-10 21:23:44

We have some members of our local home ed group working hard trying to put together a planned ethos for a free school, in the hope that they will get funding and be open in sept 2011.
I will be amazed if it gets approval and funding! Their ideas are wonderful in theory, but like already said above, you are still going to have so many strings attached!and likely having to conform to inspections etc and expected outcomes for each child.
Im going to stick with home education! I love the flexibility of it all!

minimathsmouse Sun 07-Nov-10 21:58:19

I have been giving the subject quite a lot of thought.

It seems that in some areas cottage schools have sprung up to meet the need for more formalised learning, schools that are run by parents for the benefit of their children. For us it meets the need of DS1 to study maths to a higher level and take examinations. However it is not funded by the LEA or ofsted inspected.

I am not against ofsted inspections any more than I am suspicious of the NC. However it would completely alter the ethos of these schools. So rather than the school meeting the needs of its pupils and the parents that support it, it would be expected to comply with objectives set by ofsted. These schools would loose their purpose.

For some HE parents their objections to state schooling may be NC and they would prefer montessori or stiener, in which case free schools might cater for them.

I'm not sure the fault lays just with the NC, what about the years of highly politicised teacher training, constant changes in pedagogy, large class sizes, noise, chaos, loss of individuality and choice, the behavioural problems of children who can not cope in that environment and the constant monitoring of every aspect of that child's life, not just his academic ability.

sieglinde Tue 09-Nov-10 11:20:30

Thanks to all.

Ok, apparently just a daydream! Though I don't really know what OFSTED inspection or following the NC would entail.

Though off the top of my head, maybe OFSTED would be a bit saner than the people the LEAs often send to persecute HE families?

Is that alleged Free School in West Lonbdon advertising itself as following the classsical curriculum also following the NC, for instance?

Oh, and what is free if the school still has to follow the NC and OFSTED, pray tell???

betelguese Sun 14-Nov-10 13:19:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

EnnisDelMar Sun 14-Nov-10 13:31:54

It does sound interesting,

our primary school is currently considering 'opting out' as it were, but there's apparently very little information about what it would entail at the moment.

sieglinde Wed 17-Nov-10 07:53:08

Ok, it apparently isn't necessary for free schools to do the NC, or have inspections. And while I agree that a free school might be just a way of reproducing the horrible stuff, it might not be too. Imagine a sixth form college with a huge library and a kind of bank of experts, physical and virtual, so that a student who had decided to look into paleobotany or the footnotes to The Waste Land or the Higgs whateveritis had someone to talk to about those things. I think most of us tend to see HE in terms of primary school, but maybe the free school couldn't for teenage liberation. So I am still dreaming!

Dragonessa Sat 27-Nov-10 00:38:52

I looked at the free school pathway but it was clearly far too easy for the authorities to step in and control how it was done the instant they felt like it.

We're sticking to our project of an internet school which has been going for 5 years now and works very well.
I was originally a bit to idealistic and the first 3 years were a 15 hour working day 7 days a week. But now it's great and I love seeing the kids developing skills and being happy. I guess it's kind of a halfway house between HE and ordinary school.

minimathsmouse Sun 28-Nov-10 23:13:59

I have just discovered that two parents in the brighton area are putting forward a plan for a free school for home educating families. Not sure how this will work, but they have to identify if their is a need for such a school.

betelguese Sun 28-Nov-10 23:45:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

sieglinde Tue 30-Nov-10 10:53:41

Hi - got it, but obviously FE colls don't offer every subject. Perhaps not ideal for high flyers? Dunno.

sieglinde Tue 30-Nov-10 10:57:00

I'd love to hear more about this, Dragonessa.

mumof4darlings Tue 30-Nov-10 13:10:53

internet schools- Highly recommend www.interhigh.co.uk and www.briteschool.co.uk

my daughter has attended both.

Freeschoolmum Tue 30-Nov-10 23:34:48

Hi. I've become involved in a local secondary free school campaign in York. My daughter is five and I thought very seriously about HE for her and haven't ruled it out for some point in the future.
The curriculum content that we envisage for our school isn't a radical departure from the National Curriculum but I think our size (200 when full in classes of 20), the way we will organise the day and our community ethos will offer something really different and may be something that people not completely sold on LEA controlled schools will be interested in.
I think the issue with providing a radically different curriculum at a free school is that you have to convince quite large numbers of people to sign their children up and people tend to be quite conservative when it comes to schools.
This is our website www.yorkfreeschool.org.uk/.

sieglinde Wed 01-Dec-10 10:15:17

Thanks to both of you. Makes for fascinating reading!

nlondondad Sun 19-Dec-10 20:44:08

The big issue with free schools, in my opinion, is finding premises.

Dragonessa were you considering applying for your internet school to be a "free school" ie state funded but without physical buildings?

This whole internet thingy is starting to develp in interesting ways. I am a school governor at a primary school which provides one to one tutorials for year 6 children, in maths, which are taught using skype from India...

betelguese Sun 19-Dec-10 22:31:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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