Free schools are a good example of a recent educational policy:
What are free schools?
Free schools are funded by the government but aren’t run by the local council. They have more control over how they do things.
They’re ‘all-ability’ schools, so can’t use academic selection processes like a grammar school.
Free schools can:
- set their own pay and conditions for staff
- change the length of school terms and the school day
They don’t have to follow the national curriculum.
Who can set them up?
Free schools are run on a not-for-profit basis and can be set up by groups like:
- independent schools
- community and faith groups
Why were they set up?
- greater choice for parents
- it is hoped that the schools will reflect the needs of a modern day student
- greater flexibility in learning
- increases competition and drives up standards
Why are they criticised?
A recent Public Accounts report has stated:
“While the department is spending significant funds in creating 500 more free schools, even in areas with no shortage of places, existing schools struggle to live within their budgets and carry out routine maintenance,” .
- they are being built in areas where they are not needed
- they are costing much more than previously estimated
- current schools need lots of funding but free schools are taking away this money
Simon Woolley is the director and one of the founders of Operation Black Vote and a commissioner for race on the Equality and Human Rights Commission and he argues that the lack of diversity and subsequent lack of representation for women and ethnic minorities is very damaging for our democracy:
“Among our MPs, elected by the people for the people, there are only 191 women – 29% – nearly 150 women short of equal representation. In 2015 only 41 black and minority ethnic MPs – 6% – were elected, when there should be nearer 100 for a more equitable representation.
I hardly need to argue why representative democracy is vitally important. We know it’s morally right, but often forget that the greatest argument for a government to look like the people it seeks to serve – and that includes class and disability too – is that it gives us a better chance of effective and dynamic government. If you’re making big decisions about people’s lives, it’s better to have a variety of people, backgrounds and experience around the table.
No one’s suggesting a man cannot speak on gender equality issues – they could and they should. But most of the time? I don’t think so. Equally, not every black or minority ethnic MP wants to speak about race equality: they may be more inclined to talk about the environment or health. But there are others who do, and the issues affecting, for example, young black workers have to be dealt with”.
From The Guardian:
Faith remains a potent presence at the highest level of UK politics despite a growing proportion of the country’s population defining themselves as non-religious, according to the author of a new book examining the faith of prominent politicians.
Nick Spencer, research director of the Theos thinktank and the lead author of The Mighty and the Almighty: How Political Leaders Do God, uses the example that all but one of Britain’s six prime ministers in the past four decades have been practising Christians to make his point.
So, this is a very good example of how the extent of secularisation has perhaps been exaggerated…
Read on: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/13/religion-faith-still-a-potent-presence-in-uk-politics-says-author?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Email
Hundreds of thousands of UK families will be affected by cuts of £12bn in the UK’s welfare budget announced by the chancellor.
- The benefit cap will be reduced from £26,000 a year to £23,000 a year in London, and £20,000 in the rest of the country.
- Any family which has a third or subsequent child born after April 2017 will not qualify for Child Tax Credit, which amounts to up to £2,780 a year per child.
- Most working age benefits will be frozen for four years from April 2016 (The measure is expected to save £3.9bn a year).
- From April 2017, those out of work between the ages of 18 and 21 will not be automatically entitled to claim housing benefit.
Benefit changes ‘could push 200,000 children into poverty
“Imagine a society without fathers; without marriage (or divorce); one in which nuclear families don’t exist. Grandmother sits at the head of the table; her sons and daughters live with her, along with the children of those daughters, following the maternal bloodline. Men are little more than studs, sperm donors who inseminate women but have, more often than not, little involvement in their children’s upbringing…”
Read on: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/apr/01/the-kingdom-of-women-the-tibetan-tribe-where-a-man-is-never-the-boss?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Email