If there are things to be said for the Coalition’s education policies, why are those in education so depressed by it all? I just happened to have had recent sets of conversations with those involved in everything from Primary to Further Education and the attitude is consistent. It can’t be that they are all hidebound. It can't be that they are all socialist. It can’t just be the cuts. It can’t just be the demographic decline.
At the Secondary School level I’m not aware of any proposal to create a local Free School, so there isn’t an immediate danger of this form of market forces hoovering up proportions of the rapidly reducing capital and building budgets and taking its pupils ‘per capita’ funding out of the existing provision.
But I at this level I am aware that there is a real fear that North East Lincolnshire is going to end up with what one person said last week would be ‘secondary moderns’ and totally independently another said would be ‘sink schools’ squeezed between successful Academies. They envisage these schools struggling with budgets which don’t generate the critical mass needed for broad and imaginative well resourced work because less ‘per capita’ funding comes in to schools where surplus places are then concentrated. They fear these schools will also be picking up significant numbers of pupils excluded from elsewhere. They realise that the Local Authority will also not be able to afford quality support when its element of 'per capita' funding does not come in for pupils who are in Academies.
One person was also highlighting the way in which freedom to be creative outside the National Curriculum doesn’t much help, say, the child who has to change school as his or her have to move to find work, which may have been one of its original intentions.
Meanwhile, the picture is another of my ‘after’ pictures to display alongside the old ‘before’ ones which will be part of the Festival exhibition in St Nicolas’ over the weekend; the curator wasn’t quite sure where to find what had been the Post Office in Great Coates so I was pleased to be able to pin it down here and notice the garage inserted where the shop front had once been (and a modern post box on the road outside which I guess replaces one removed from the shop wall).