How To Start Up Your Own School… Ho!

Michael Gove, who I sometimes have a lot of time for because he works hard and is really trying, says we should start up our own schools. As if this is some magnanimous gesture by government and not a complete cop-out and abrogation of civic responsibility.

For a start how would a nurse, with two young children say, who is juggling a part-time job with her fireman husband, actually go about this?

She sees the local school isn’t much good, so she thinks “never mind I will start my own”. How exactly would she find the time, the money, the resources, the land, the building, the superior kind of staff and navigate the health and safety issues? (Schools which are already up and running, some for 500 years, still fall foul of these). How would she fit in starting a school between getting her toddler to nursery, (also not very good, should she try to start one of those too, before the baby needs one?), parking up, getting on her uniform and getting home before her, let’s say fireman husband, goes off to work?

The kind of people who have the resources to set up schools, will be the middle-classes, (the wealthier end), and these people can already get access to good schools by moving into a cast-iron safe totally middle class area, (where the workers are holed up in another catchment), or buy their way into the independent system. I can’t see many of these types of people, (who are also trying to get a good education for their children, it is hard work even for the educated middle classes to navigate the school system), altruistically thinking they will set up a school for the tower-block dwellers down the road.

Fraser Nelson might think that welfare schemes are too generous and encourage the work-shy, but anyone on welfare struggles to keep body and soul together, they certainly do not have spare funds to set up their own schools; just about everything is stacked against them. And if a few motivated groups do manage to prevail and start a new educational establishment it may not be better, and they are hardly likely to be non-partisan; their own children will inevitably be favoured.

The only people with sufficient funds to possibly set up their own schools will be faith groups, unlikely to want to extend their hospitality to unbelievers.

None of this sounds as if it is designed to produce a fairer society.

Still we needn’t worry… will never happen.

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