I Heart Hackney Free School

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…

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2 Responses to I Heart Hackney Free School

  1. Paddy O'Dea says:

    Hello Pascale,
    I came across a reply you left on Mike Baker’s Blog to the comment I made about free schools – rather late, I’m afraid. I hope you don’t think I was rude for not responding! Anyway, I thought of replying there, but have found this place instead, which I hope you will pick up on. Just to say that at the Learning Exchange we are very interested in the range of different approaches people are taking to exercise their right to more choice by establishing free schools. Indeed, many of the emerging schools look exciting and innovative – yours included! May I invite you or your colleagues to join the Learning Exchange – it’s free to belong to – and if you do, you can take up our really great offer of free training for people who are running extracurricular activities. Here is the link to our site:
    and here is the link to the training we are offering in London on 8 February:
    Here is a link to some feedback we’ve had about the Learning Exchange; during a time when support from the ‘centre’ has all but dried up, and local authorities can no longer offer resources and tools, the Learning Exchange is becoming the one-stop-shop for all things related to extra-curricular activities and extended services.
    You’ll be most welcome if you join – and we look forward to seeing you online.
    with best wishes,
    Paddy O’Dea

  2. Paddy O'Dea says:

    Hi Pascale, I forgot to include the link to feedback about the Learning Exchange in my previous post:
    Here it is:
    Best wishes, Paddy.

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