John Harris

Journalist & Author

Spend, spend, spend: the chaotic world of Michael Gove’s free schools | John Harris

While the crisis of primary places mounts, vast sums of public cash which may well be wasted are being chucked at the education secretary’s pet project

A strange coincidence, isn’t it, that so many Liberal Democrats are suddenly howling about Michael Gove’s education policies less than two weeks from elections in which they face likely wipe-out? But let’s set that aside: cynicism is never the most constructive impulse; and besides, what the Lib Dems are affecting to be so dismayed about is worthy of their pain.

The free schools programme may have started in a flurry of attractive talk about parents being integrally involved in new schools and the need to move faster than the often sclerotic pace of local government. But it seems to be turning into a veritable monster thanks not just to the cosy relationships between Whitehall and the vested interests we must now call "education providers" but also to a department that seems to be pursuing its visions at all costs.

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