Since Michael Gove’s outstanding appearance at Leveson in which he vigorously defended the principles of a free press, the Labour Party have responded characteristically. Gove did not rule out the possibility of allowing free schools to make profit in the future, he said “we should cross that bridge when we come to it”. Inevitably, Labour have created a bandwagon and they have all willingly jumped onto it, opposing any such idea as damaging to our children’s education. Yet, have they done their research?
Sweden operates the profit making free school system that Labour fundamentally oppose. The Schooling for Money: Swedish educational reform report comments that, in Sweden, the introduction of such a measure has increased the average working class pupil’s GPA (grade point average) by 5%. The report highlighted three crucial areas of consideration. The only possible way to operationalise the success of the policy is with educational achievement, in particular, regarding those from lower socio-economic backgrounds.
The report demonstrably shows that profit making schools increase access for children to schools that will improve their educational achievement. Secondly, for profit schools increase competition, standards and supply of schools. Yet, most significantly, the social group to feel the greatest positive impact were those from low socio-economic backgrounds, thus indicating profit making free schools could be integral to promoting social mobility.
It is worth noting that non profit schools did perform marginally better on average than profit making schools, increasing average GPA by 5.7% compared to the latter’s 4.5%. However, one effect that is beyond doubt is schools with a large proportion of pupils from lower socio-economic backgrounds which were profit making performed significantly better (GPA up by 11.6 points).
A recent poll, in addition, suggests that the vast majority of head teachers believe Michael Gove’s radically progressive policy of academisation will improve standards. With 1400 new academies and hundreds of free schools, this can be seen as an unprecedented success and perhaps one of the greatest of this reformist Conservative led Government. Moreover, the wasteful EMA has been scrapped for a far more efficient and sensible alternative.
Furthermore, a report headed by the European Commission slammed British education policy as too many Britons were “functionally illiterate and innumerate”. Hardly a glowing reflection of Labour’s time in office. And, who was in charge of education policy in Britain from 2007-2010? Ed Balls, the man who wants to reduce our debt by spending more.
Labour are reactionary and purely ideological, opposing any measure that symbolises decentralisation. Their growing desire for a bigger and ever more intrusive state means they immediately reject any such notion that gives groups of people, teachers, parents and charities the responsibility for our children’s education. They use their default words to provoke reaction and emotion such as privatisation in order to hinder reform. Labour’s tiresome rhetoric and opportunistic nature can only damage our education system whereas Conservatives are pragmatic and will look at anything that will improve educational standards and social mobility.
It is our duty not only as Conservatives but as young people to unashamedly support Michael Gove’s reforms in the face of spineless opposition from Labour and militant left-wing trade union leaders.
In Gove We Trust