Speeches sourced from the Labour party’s online archive More…

In response to Michael Gove's formal approval of eight Free Schools, Labour's Shadow Education Secretary, Andy Burnham MP, said:

"Michael Gove is inflicting an elitist experiment on our schools system with no evidence that it will raise standards. It is a huge gamble with the life chances of our children.

"Free Schools mean a free-for all, where good schools can be destabilised and where teachers can be employed without teaching qualifications. They threaten a school system with increased social segregation of children. This is what happened in Sweden. I hope today's conference will consider the Swedish experience, even if the Secretary of State conveniently no longer mentions it.

"There is a need for more school places in some parts of the country and parents and teachers should be involved in plans to meet that need. But many parents are concerned that the free schools policy will not raise standards.

"They are expensive to set up and will divert resources from other schools. The local community will be cut out of decisions as schools become accountable only to the Secretary of State. This is an unprecedented power grab by a Secretary of State who preaches localism and freedom." 


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