For the Telegraph, Fraser Nelson asks, Will Michael Gove’s schools revolution be just another false start? He sets out a crucial problem in education:
David Cameron’s problem is not that Michael Gove might be run over by a bus. His problem is, this weekend, that quite a few mothers wouldn’t mind if he were. By the time tomorrow’s post is opened another 50,000 female voters will have good reason to curse the Education Secretary. The last of the primary school admissions letters will be posted today, and more parents than ever are likely to be told that the education they had wanted for their child is out of stock. By the next election some 240,000 places will be needed, but free schools are expected to deliver just 8,000. The next few years will be bulge years.
So the question is how to incentivise people to start new schools. One answer is obvious: adopt the Swedish concept of allowing schools to make a profit but as Fraser writes, “this is not controversial in socialistic Sweden but it is beyond the pale in supposedly capitalist Britain”.
I foresee howls of protest — and a continued shortage of places. I’m sure it’s an area of policy to watch closely.