At the recent general meeting we had a brief debate on free schools and the “We need a Free School” group from Knebworth. Whilst most at the meeting seemed negative about free schools, I think they can be a step forward to a more European style of education.

I approve of people wanting to do the best for their children in all aspects of their lives including education and if that means that parents elect to send their children to a private or public school, then so be it. Who would not do the best for their child at the expense of a political consideration?

Do I approve of fairness and equal opportunity for all? Of course, but the present system will never enable this to happen whilst there is so much interference by all political interests in Britain, every couple of years. I take the view strongly that De Gaulle in France was right to say that if people wanted to send their children to religious schools, then they should not expect the State to subsidise them.

Likewise with private secular schools. When he established the National School or “Lycee” system in France, the first thing he did was too remove State education out of the hands of political interest groups to howls of rage emanating from every political colour, as well as confessionals and the armed forces.

The result has been that there has been no interference with the French State education system for almost fifty years which is why it has been tremendously successful and adopted, to suit local needs, by other countries in Europe and further afield.

With tweaks, the Dutch system is almost the same; federal considerations make it somewhat different in Germany, but still greatly influenced by what was done in France. For a party that is a big supporter of the European project, we may still have a lot to learn from what occurs twenty one miles south of Dover.

What do you think?

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