I was interested this week to read up on the new free schools to be opened by Ian Livingstone in London and Birmingham. The focus in these schools is very much going to be on STEAM (Science Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) with a blended learning approach. Not being the most engaged child at school this really appeals to me. This will include the setting up of mock businesses in school, using the skills learnt in real life experiences. In retrospect, 5 months in to my experience setting up and running a business, what I would have done with being able to learn, then put into practice the skills needed when I was at school!
Obviously, it caught my eye as the prospective students are being promised the latest technology and creative thinking. I wonder what that will be by the time it comes to finally opening these schools but more so I am happy there are going to be places for children with an interest in digital creativity. This is what the much maligned Free School program was supposed to provide, schools that offer something different, an education that could inspire our youth to better things. Only time will tell whether it is a success or not but I think this is one to be lauded.
There were only 22 schools named in the current batch released by the DfE and as they push more and more of them to sit within the MAT’s I think they are starting to find their place in the education landscape. After a rocky (many would say that is me being kind) start maybe free schools do have a real differentiator in the education system. They need a framework, a structure to be built around but them offering alternate ways of learning whether blended or flipped or whatever the next pedagogy theory is makes them different.
We will see as the number of free schools builds to the Government’s target of 500 before the next election, how they are improving, and how the 270,000 pupils are being supported in their education….