Free schools in pubs, cinemas or bookies?

19 Oct 2010

 The government has published a consultation paper on possible changes to planning regulations to make it easier for the promoters of 'free schools' to provide lessons in a wide range of premises that are not currently designated for educational use.

 These could include pubs, cafes, cinemas, shops, and offices -- but the line has been drawn at nightclubs. Nevertheless, the range of suggested premises leaves plenty of scope for cartoonists and satirists.

The consultation paper 'Planning for Schools Development' can be found here:

 It sets out several options, including one that would leave planning regulations as they are. 

A second option canvasses support for allowing certain buildings to given permitted development rights to convert to school use. These include:

  • Shops, including hairdressers and sandwich bars.
  • Banks, building societies and betting offices.
  • Business offices.
  • Hotels and boarding houses.
  • Young offenders' institutions and military barracks.
  • Cinemas, bingo and dance halls (but not nightclubs!).

 A third option lists a further range of buildings, including pubs, restaurants, and private homes. A fourth option suggests carte blanche.

The consultation is only open for 8 weeks as the government says it is keen to ensure the first 'free schools' can open for the 2011-12 academic year.



User Comments

Iftikhar Ahmad - 19 Oct 2010

Muslim Academies


Bilingual Muslims children have a right, as much as any other faith group, to be taught their culture, languages and faith alongside a mainstream curriculum. More faith schools will be opened under sweeping reforms of the education system in England. There is a dire need for the growth of state funded Muslim schools to meet the growing needs and demands of the Muslim parents and children. Now the time has come that parents and community should take over the running of their local schools. Parent-run schools will give the diversity, the choice and the competition that the wealthy have in the private sector. Parents can perform a better job than the Local Authority because parents have a genuine vested interest. The Local Authority simply cannot be trusted.

The British Government is planning to make it easier to schools to “opt out” from the Local Authorities. Muslim children in state schools feel isolated and confused about who they are. This can cause dissatisfaction and lead them into criminality, and the lack of a true understanding of Islam can ultimately make them more susceptible to the teachings of fundamentalists like Christians during the middle ages and Jews in recent times in Palestine. Fundamentalism is nothing to do with Islam and Muslim; you are either a Muslim or a non-Muslim.

There are hundreds of state primary and secondary schools where Muslim pupils are in majority. In my opinion all such schools may be opted out to become Muslim Academies. This mean the Muslim children will get a decent education. Muslim schools turned out balanced citizens, more tolerant of others and less likely to succumb to criminality or extremism. Muslim schools give young people confidence in who they are and an understanding of Islam’s teaching of tolerance and respect which prepares them for a positive and fulfilling role in society. Muslim schools are attractive to Muslim parents because they have better discipline and teaching Islamic values. Children like discipline, structure and boundaries. Bilingual Muslim children need Bilingual Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods, who understand their needs and demands.
Iftikhar Ahmad

Stan Terry - 20 Oct 2010

Free schools and Muslim academies

Well what can one say that doesn't come through in the statement about Muslim academies. What we all need to do in a time of fiscal and global crisis is go our separate ways. As Mrs Thatcher said there is no such thing as society, so lets have separate schools for everybody and that should encourage us all to get on with each other.!!! I wonder if Mr. Gove has realised the implications of his free school proposals. Perhaps this comment might help him realise that its likely to be a divisive approach.
Of course it may be that children educated in empty office buildings with nothing specifically designed to facilitate the learning experieices is just what we need, because they are likely to be cheap to run! However I'm not sure that the private sector would attract lots of children to it if it suggested that an empty Tesco buildign would be ideal for children to learn in because its a cheap shed with little natural daylight and the Car Park provides the ideal surface on which to learn sporting skills!

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