Will new schools be diverse enough?

WHAT will the introduction of Academy and free schools mean for education in Eastbourne?

Will it bring diversity or divisiveness?

Up until now there have been just two forms of education, state and county schools on the one hand, and private independent schools on the other.

The first open to all sorts and the other open mainly to children of wealthy parents.

True, depending on your point of view, we already had a diverse or divisive system.

However the introduction of Academy schools has brought a new player onto the field. Academies are state-funded independent schools with all the freedom of private schools: choice of curriculum, choice of admissions policy for pupils, choice of pay and conditions of service for staff including sick leave, maternity arrangements and termination of contracts.

Looked at side by side with the two existing types of school, whether you are a pupil, teacher, or fee-paying parent, diverse or divisive?

The present government introduced the new player, free schools.

Actually the word “free” is a euphemism as the schools have had even more constraints removed.

Of the free schools set up over the past year some are faith schools so that the principle of ethnic and cultural integration is ignored. Diverse of divisive?

One other constraint removed: teachers in free schools need not be qualified. Diverse or divisive?

And some of the other free schools are “lame ducks,” that is they were bankrupt independent schools faced with closure who applied direct to the government for free school status.

Compared to the funding systems of the other schools, diverse or divisive?

On the local proposal for free school at Temple Grove, how much money will the government provide for the conversion of the buildings into the provision for laboratories for science, technology and languages, gymnasium, etc..?

Money that might have gone to the upgrading and improvement of existing schools in Eastbourne and the county generally. Diverse or divisive?

DON B CLARKE,

Sunstar Lane, Polegate