The Big Question

Should councils have the automatic right to set up community schools?

KIERRA BOX – Young people’s activist
We’ve had a perfectly successful state school system for the past 50 years or so, why change it now? It’s ridiculous to expect councils to meet this whole new set of criteria to do the same job – all it’s going to do is increase bureaucracy. I’m against private funding of the state sector in any form, including city academies.

JOAN SCOTT – Inspired Services
The question for me is, would it improve special needs education? Kids who go to special schools are made to feel different from everyone else, but are bullied at mainstream schools. Extra funding is needed for special needs education so that children have individual, tailored support. If that happens, it doesn’t  matter who the provider is.

I wouldn’t trust our London borough with this kind of responsibility, I don’t know about other areas. My experience of education here leads me to believe that it would be another failure – the teachers just don’t have the right attitude and the management of schools is poor. Are independent providers different? Research is needed to find out.

KAREN SHOOK – Disability equality adviser
There will be areas of the country that might benefit from the council setting up a school where no one else is interested in establishing one. Poorer areas are likely to be under-served by independent providers, but this doesn’t mean that councils should have the automatic right – there should be some control over it.


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