Can we, should we, open a Free School in Upper Clapton, Hackney?
After three months or research and frank discussion, I’m confident of my own position on the ethical, political and educational debates. I’m also very confident of demand from my own research, GLA predictions, local admissions statistics and publications such as this one which mentions Hackney specifically:
Choice? What Choice
There are two problems to moving forward now.
One – how to reach a diverse range of local parents, to join the team early. Word of mouth will only get you so far. Where and how do we start? Everyone is busy … should I really divert my own time away from my family and my business, to undertake this campaign? Should we ask other parents to commit their energies to something which may turn out to be a political fad?
Two – how to navigate the high seas of local politics. A Free School in Labour Hackney will not be to everyone’s taste. Should we care? We have talked with teachers, governors, the local authority, councillors etc. Support has been more positive than expected – for sure everyone has concerns, but generally people are intrigued and not about to stand in our way. Perhaps because we’ve been upfront in asking their opinions, and clear that we want to work in partnership with other local schools and to have a diverse intake of children from all backgrounds. I just wonder whether this is the right time, too hot a political issue nationally, too interesting for the media, too visible. I fear the political arena, and I’ve always tried to keep out of local politics in my work with other schools.
I’m really passionate about this opportunity, this idea, this school. I just don’t know if I believe in the Government’s long-term support, and I dont know if I’m committed enough to make it a reality, just yet…