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Free schools – a new political football?

16 March 2012

Lord Adonis, one of the key figures in Labour’s academies programme, has stated that Labour must embrace free schools if it wishes to get back into power. According to Adonis free schools were a labour invention that has been re-badged by the Coalition.

Whether free schools are a clear vote winner is debatable but a clear stance on education will be a key part of any election manifesto. Labour’s mixed messages in recent months on free schools lack clarity.

Free schools and academies are the preferred route to new schools being provided and will remain a key component of education provision so clarity is required.

With the programme in its early stages, Labour’s decision to wait and see if free schools help in transforming educational outcomes in disadvantaged areas is prudent.

However, Labour should embrace free schools, if the evidence stacks up, as the successor to the original vision of the academies programme – a vehicle to narrow the gap between the “haves” and “have nots”.

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