Abandon the status quo

5th July 2013 at 01:00

I have a cunning plan, a vision even. Since Milton Friedman advocated private schooling for all, I have been intrigued as to whether his model is feasible.

Educational entrepreneurs would tender for the right to own, control and manage Ian Roblin High School in North Cardiff (I have a controversial location in mind). The state would provide every child, aged 11, with an educational voucher and those parents eager to buy a place would queue, like fans at a Led Zeppelin reunion gig, for a prized place (first come, first served). The school management would be free to set the curriculum and would be permitted to drop some subjects if they chose.

To eradicate public sector bureaucracy and improve staff morale and motivation, regulatory bodies would be abolished but, to monitor student development, public examination results would be compared with the results of literacy and numeracy tests sat by students on entry.

The senior management team could recruit teaching staff freely but they would be acutely aware that, to succeed in a competitive educational market, their staff must possess the requisite subject and teaching skills and knowledge. If the school thrived, student applications would increase and the principal would invest to expand the school resources. Attracted by the profit incentives, other educational entrepreneurs would be free to enter this educational market since barriers to entry would be deliberately lowered to encourage competition.

Every group with a vested interest would benefit and economic growth would accelerate. Sink schools and the tragic postcode lotteries would be confined to history. Who wants to maintain the status quo? Not me, as it is littered with systemic weaknesses.

Ian Roblin, Llanishen, Cardiff.

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