I tend not to comment much on HE as there are others on here who have a lot more insight and experience than I. But the last post, at the end of last year, was on free schools and how I thought they had, by and large, not achieved much. A news story on the BBC today reports than the group behind the New College of the Humanities, in effect a rich kids private university, are to have a go at doing the same thing for secondary education.
The story is currently here.
The HE version is headed by a gang of well known professors, authors, ex-politicians and TV personalities and is recognisable by charging £16,000 a year as opposed to the usual £9,000. They can get away with it at HE because their degrees are ‘franchised’ from a different university and they don’t have to go through the rigmarole of setting up their own quality systems, they use their parent’s systems and procedures. In effect a private arm of a university with big name lecturers turning up once in a blue moon. The £16K doesn’t surprise me though. If you look at the fees charged by overseas establishments you might be surprised. I heard recently of Berklee School of Music being $60,000… not sure if that’s a year or for the entire course though.
The thought of a secondary school version of it makes me uncomfortable because what we’re basically doing is setting up a private school, not a free one. Setting up a private school is fine, if that is what you say you are doing, but setting one up with public money and calling it free when it is anything but, sounds like fraud.
I do still think that the current vision of education is completely flawed and I am desperately worried for learners, the arts, progression and the country as a whole in ten years’ time. I do like the idea of disruptive principles and challenging the curriculum. But there are only going to be rich kids benefitting from this, and that is not fair, honest or helpful.