Here’s a simple maths problem. Answer it as completely as you can, showing your workings.
“We don’t want Serco exam factories” said Rick Muir, associated director of IPPR and a panelist at yesterday’s ATL debate on the role of profit in schools. This was the first in five debates ATL will be holding as part of their varied #ShapeEducation discussions, and on this occasion I was the chair.
The case for ‘for profit’ providers in education rests on weak empirical foundations. The international evidence on the performance of for-profit school providers is at best mixed.
Politicians worldwide have in the past decades tried to improve their state-funded schooling systems by introducing more choice and competition. By introducing market forces, the idea is to ensure that bad schools either are forced to improve or go out of business and that good schools expand – creating a virtuous ‘race to the top’.
The real damage to England’s schools following the reforms of the last twenty-five years is that they have become individual economic entities. When schooling starts to become a commodity, curriculum and pedagogy become commodities too.