John Simkin Posted November 29, 2004 Share Posted November 29, 2004 Chris Woodhead, the former chief inspector of schools, has launched a chain of independent schools that he believes the largest private education provider in Britain. The company, called Cognita, plans to buy 24 schools over the next two years and hopes to provide an education for over 10,000 children. Apparently surveys have found that many parents would be willing to use fee-paying schools if they could afford to do so. However, the problem is the average day school fees are £2,429 a term. Woodhead’s plan is to provide inexpensive private education. He points out he will not be competing with Britain’s best known private schools. “We have Harrods and we have Tesco” he said. “Of course, schools are very different to supermarkets but there is room for more than one level of provision.” In other words, Woodhead plans to compete with those state schools he has been so busy criticising over the last few years (“15,000 incompetent teachers”). All part of his long-term strategy. One proposal is for all Cognita’s schools “to draw on lesson materials developed centrally by experts, mostly head teachers, allowing teachers to spend more time in the classroom.” This is the first time I have heard that head teachers were experts at producing teaching materials. Have they been going on secret courses? Or have they been pinching them from the web? The schools will also hold weekly tests for pupils. To quote Woodhead: “The teacher needs to know that what she has taught has been taught has been understood, otherwise how the hell can she plan the next stage? I am not going to be deflected from this by idle chatter about testing being too stressful for children”. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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