Market madness

10th September 2010 at 01:00

Congratulations to The TES on your analysis series ("The Gove Revolution", which started in the September 3 edition). I have repeatedly asked Michael Gove how the money will be found to pay for excess school places as those threatened with closure become academies and as the misnamed "free" schools are set up, creating surplus places in an area.

He has been remarkably reluctant to give me an answer. Now we know the reason why - he hadn't got one. Hence the need to set up a working group to advise him on the effect that his academies and free schools policies will have on local authorities who, as your article reveals, are finding it impossible to co-ordinate the number and type of school places in their area.

This is a Secretary of State who works in reverse - launch a policy and then consider its consequences. Or could it be that Mr Gove, a passionate free marketer, is quite content to let some schools wither on the vine as they struggle to educate diminishing numbers of pupils with inadequate resources?

The market is OK for children's trainers, but should have no place in their education and training, which should be a means to even up the odds produced by the accident of a child's birth - not further reinforce them.

Dr Mary Bousted, General secretary, ATL, London.

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