Competitive education

In half-an-hour George Osborne will be delivering the British Budget. There is only one item of interest to non-~British readers. This is that all state schools will be released from local government control by 2020 and become Academics. Independent governors will be found and appointed. Thus for the first time since 1907 the curricula and the appointment of head teachers will not be supervised by government bureaucracy at both local and central levels.

We now have a chance that we’ll have a far more widely- spread spectrum of quality schools in all regions of the country. At present we have one or two dozen first-class secondary state schools — quite as good as the top private schools — but that’s all. They are almost invariably situated in the ‘leafy suburbs’ where only well-paid middle class people live and from which the pupils are enrolled.

Parents will now have a wider choice of schools for their children including more specialist schools than previously. Also good head teachers can be chosen who are not necessarily teachers by background. All first class organisations of any sort need chief executives who have even rarer abilities than those below them. There is no reason why good entrepreneurial or managerial types cannot now be involved in education.

If this experiment comes off then I can see several other advanced countries following in the coming years because competition between advanced countries is only going to become more intensive than ever in fighting for a share of trade with China and one or two more Asian ‘tigers’ for their physical exports.

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