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For-profit schools on the horizon?

25 June 2014

If there is one topic in education capable of lighting a touch paper it is that of for-profit schools. In his speech on Tuesday to The Fabian Society, Tristram Hunt, the Shadow Education Secretary warned that applying the profit motive to schools could easily happen if the Conservatives win the next election.

His comments will reignite this debate. Last year there was a leak of alleged discussions within the DfE to consider allowing free schools and academies to make a profit. In 2012 Michael Gove told the Leveson Inquiry that we could move to a position of free schools making a profit but that ‘we should cross that bridge when we come to it’. Whether we are close to that bridge as we move towards a general election remains to be seen.

Tristram Hunt referred to the Swedish experience as an ‘unmitigated disaster’. If the Conservatives do have plans to introduce such a measure it will be interesting to see what examples are used to support any proposals.

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