On the Free School Primary planned for Chester Cathedral (and shortcomings).

Okay I know, I haven’t written on this blog for a good while. Excuse being writer’s block brought on by various events, some or all of which were highly political. Also, being a bit of a blog perfectionist – posts sometimes appeared disparate and unconnected with each other. It made sense to me – but as far as the readership goes – I’ve got some joining-up to do perhaps?

It all seems to come together when you look at the Free School Primary planned for Chester Cathedral and the questions which no-one seems to be asking (yet).

The first question one might ask is: “How does the planning of such a school impact on other primaries in the area?”. (West Cheshire). Let’s just attempt a draft answer shall we? It seems to be the case that if the plan goes ahead less money will be available for other schools in the area. I have sources which indicate this is the case – so will update this blog post perhaps to include some of these.

The second question – most relevant to an early years blog – is – how will the (flawed) Early Years Foundation Stage be implemented in this school (?). I’m assuming  since the EYFS is ubiquitous and statutory requirement that this will be the case – unless the school plans to apply for an exemption…

Question number three: How did it happen that the front page of our local newspaper featured a report on the Chester Cathedral Free School Plan – which resembled a paid-for advertisement for such a school, rather than a journalistic analysis of whether or not such a school would be a good idea? See the Chester Chronicle’s Ambitious plans for first ever free school in Chester.

And question number five: Bearing in mind that it is Wednesday today – and I have only just got wind of a ‘public consultation event’ – scheduled for next Monday at the Chester Cathedral site –

(University cathedral free school Community Consultation event Monday 6th February 7pm 11 Abbey Square) how can this event apparently arranged at short notice – and the lack of adequate publicity offer the general public a chance for any really democratic consultation?

Question Six: How does the Chester Cathedral free school plan connect with the three-quarters-of-a- million pounds scandalously wasted on a proposed (and botched) – ‘improvement scheme’ described on this site? (See:  Chester Cathedral Free School background and history).

And last but not least: How does the Chester Cathedral Free School proposal connect with Michael Gove’s announcements this week? http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/video/2012/jan/31/michael-gove-education-standards-video

More questions than answers…anyone out there – wish to comment?


5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Rachel Horrocks on March 4, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    Hi Frances thanks for the posting. I have been following the progress of the developments for this school with interest in the Chester Chronicle and other local press. Let me know what you find out and I will keep my eyes and ears open too. Your friend and fellow parent, Rachel.


  2. So are you against all free schools or only ones that don’t follow your education philosophy -would you, for example, be against the Steiner free school they are trying to open in Exeter?

    ”How does the planning of such a school impact on other primaries in the area?”
    Yes, the members of Exeter NUT are very concerned about this.

    It’ll also reduce choice for parents who don’t want their children to attend a Steiner school.


    • Posted by Frances Laing on February 28, 2012 at 9:45 pm

      Hello Susan,
      I am not sure if you know what ‘my education philosphy’ is. I would not send my own child to a Steiner school, however I very much respect how Steiner schools are fighting for play-based education. Does this answer your question? Best Frances


  3. Posted by Pat Gordon-Smith on February 1, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    No answers, I’m afraid. Just thought my dream last night – of Michael Gove sitting in my front room and laughing at me – might have some resonance for you!


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