UK’s Poor to Receive Expert Teaching Through ‘Free Schools’

Staff from Eton, Highgate, City of London School and Brighton College will lead lessons for underserved students in a project that is among a wave of 55 new taxpayer-funded “free schools” to be given approval by the UK Government, writes Graeme Paton at the Telegraph.

Under the scheme, parents groups, charities, faith organizations and entrepreneurs are given cash to open their own state school free of local authority interference. They then wield control over admissions, the curriculum, staff appointments, length of the school day and shape of the academic year.

In a statement, Brighton College said:

“Only 12 ‘hard’ subjects will be offered; students will not be able to take media studies, food technology or sociology, for example. Instead they will be choosing from the likes of maths, physics, chemistry or history. This is to be a robustly academic institution. With expert pastoral care and careful university guidance, the aim is to secure places for the students at the very top universities.”

All students attending the college will be required to wear business-like suits and the school day will last until 5pm, writes Paton. All students will be required to work in the community for half a day each week. They will focus on tough A-level subjects such as math, science, history and geography in an attempt to push more disadvantaged teenagers into top universities.

In a further announcement, the Government will propose the establishment of 13 new-style University Technical Colleges.

Under the plans, pupils will be able to opt out of mainstream schools at the age of 14 to enroll at a technical college and learn a trade.

The institutions – also opening from 2012 onwards – will teach a range of courses including engineering, motor skills and business, alongside mainstream subjects.